(Post by KAARINA DILLABOUGH)
There’s much being written these days about connection, engagement and value. Are we truly connecting with our customers? Providing value? Are we really engaged? What does it all really mean? And what are you choosing to do?
In many ways, everything old is new again. Connection, engagement and providing value are what the corner store and mom and pop operations have always done.
Do you remember:
Walking into a store where the owner knows and calls you by name.
Receiving a hand-written card or note from someone you did business with, congratulating you on a recent accomplishment, thanking you for your business or simply indicating they are “thinking of you”.
Getting a telephone call to follow-up on a recent purchase you made, to ensure your satisfaction and expressing thanks for the purchase.
None of those things should be things-of-the-past. And if you listen to online gurus and experts,they are all singing from the same page…Connect with your Customer! Engage with your Community! Provide Value!
But how do you really do that? Is it enough to appear on social media platforms to “look like” you’re connecting and connected? Are you engaged when you answer a question from a customer?
I believe that true connection and engagement is an inside-out job, at the individual level. Unless there is true caring and concern at the individual level, it won’t translate throughout a company.
And I think there’s a very simple way to do that.
Treat others as you wish to be treated.
If you don’t like standing in a long line to return an item, only to be treated with indifference or disdain by the store clerk, would you want your employees to behave that way?
If you want knowledgeable, helpful staff to assist you with product knowledge or availability, why wouldn’t all staff be trained to provide the same?
If you dislike being treated like a number, would you want your staff to treat your customers as “just another number”?
Good old-fashioned manners, etiquette, courtesy, kindness and common sense: have they gone out of style, or are they making resurgence, especially through social media? The words are there…connection, engagement, value…but are the actions speaking louder than words?
There’s a huge difference between a transaction and a relationship.
A transaction is the sale. You want something. You exchange money for the product or service.
A relationship is the experience before, during and after the sale. It’s what you do to cultivate, acquire and retain that customer, in a way that is meaningful to the customer.
Push-selling might result in a transaction. Sometimes it will be the loudest voice that captures the attention and the sale. But to stack the odds in your favor for repeat business…for loyalty, referrals and strong word of mouth, it’s all about building relationships.
First: Connect – in ways and means that your customer wants to be connected with (read: do not cold call at dinner hour and expect a warm response by your potential customer)
Second: Engage – spend time to cultivate a relationship in ways and means that are meaningful to your customer
Third: Provide Value – be sure that when your potential customer is ready to buy, the product and/or service you provide makes a significant, beneficial difference in their life, because it solves a problem in their life, reduces their pain or enhances their pleasure.
In the final analysis, it really is simple: Treat others as you wish to be treated.
Kaarina Dillabough, Amaranth, Ontario
Kaarina is a business/life coach living in Ontario, Canada. For over 25 years her high-voltage energy, expertise and experience has inspired those she has worked with to reach beyond their grasp, to attain great things in business and in life. A former Olympic sports colour commentator and coach, Kaarina parlayed her coaching skills from the gym floor to the boardroom, working with business owners to improve their profitability and prosperity. In doing so, she has seen people grow both personally and professionally. Kaarina is known as an inspiring motivational speaker in areas such as branding, marketing, business growth strategies, and personal growth and prosperity. She is a passionate, seasoned coach and accountability partner with a proven track record, who loves nothing more than helping people achieve their goals in business and in life. Check out her Blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter. Email contact: kaarina (at) kaarinadillabough (dot) comTweet