In this business, we pay attention to image because image matters. We also pay attention to substance, because without substance, image makeovers won't matter. So when it comes to retaining customers, paying attention to every interaction a customer has with your brand is imperative. But as professionals, our job is also to create the narrative that inspires your organization to thinking about customers in a way that builds strong alliances.
No, you can’t do this alone. But don’t underestimate the power of our words and the images to inspire a perspective that improves the customer experience—and ultimately sales. Here are four ways you can do that:
- Engage, don’t perform. Help your organization decide in its collective heads and hearts that they really are interested in helping your customers achieve their goals. Tell the stories of happy customers. Make them compelling, real and personal. (This, by the way, is also a very happy way to live.)
- Deliver compulsively on your promises. This is where the executors separate themselves from the going-out-of-business businesses. Build an ethos that talks about how that looks. Help the team see how quickly they can rise above their competitors by returning calls, following up on promises, making notes, reviewing notes, delivering actions.
- Help orient your team to the long-term. It is not only immensely more pleasant to have mutually satisfying long-term relationships than making an extra buck—it also allows yourself to truly invest in, and therefore become an expert, on what your customer needs.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Be the voice in your organization that inspires your team to treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Showcase examples, tell stories.
The facts are, anything you needed to learn about selling your mother has probably already told you. Share. Care. Listen. Be polite. Keep your promises. As professionals, we can help nudge our organizations in this direction by modeling this behavior and by shaping our company’s narrative.
As Geoffrey James so wisely said in his Inc. article. “The secret to customer loyalty lies in putting the interests of the customer ahead of your own. It’s really that simple.”