When you are a leader, by title, self appointment, or simply the massive folks who follow you… it is important to ensure that you are leading not only those who report to you, but those who buy from you as well. What are you doing to lead those customers who keep your business alive? Are you leading them to vote with their feet and go elsewhere or are you leading them to take part in more and more of your business? The choice is yours and much as in Contagious Leadership of those who report to you, every move you make and action you take is contagious here, too!
If you are leading your customer well, you are:
Developing a Relationship, not just a Transaction
Service starts long before the sale and continues even if the customer is not buying anything. Develop a relationship with those you call customers and watch how quickly they become friends. The goal is to provide such a high level of service that customers WANT to be your friend and you theirs. This may mean that you evaluate pretty closely who you reach out to as customers. It also serves as a great reminder to always ask yourself “would you do to a friend what you are about to do to that customer?”
When times are wrought with change and uncertainty and certainly fueled by the fear we hear on the news each night, it can be hard to stay positive, dogmatic about all policies and procedures, and diligent about all details when your customer is pushing back. If your customer is considerate enough to be candid with you about one problem or another that they might be experiencing, know that your understanding and flexibility will go much further than a demand letter or hasty action. Of course, this also works both ways, but if you lead by example in your flexibility, others are likely to follow.
Listen and Ask More Than you Talk and Tell
When all you are doing is talking and telling, we affectionately call that “spray and pray”. You spew out all that you know and hope and pray that some of it is useful. Not your best customer approach. Spend time to get to know who you are serving. Ask them questions about their needs and avoid the temptation to tell them everything you can’t do, but instead err on the side of sharing information on what you can do that is most relevant to them.
With these tips and clear mindset on the value of the customer to your business, you can lead your customers even more effectively, that is of course, right after you finish leading the voices in your head to greatness.
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.