Business Alchemy – 10 Steps to Create Golden Value for Your Customers
So, this is a HUGE topic and could very well be an entire book, not just a blog. So be forewarned that I am going to give you the eagle’s high-level view. But you will definitely get the idea and be able to construct the steps on the stairway to golden value for your clients.
If you have been in business for even a short time, you will likely have already come to realize that you get customers by giving value and you keep customers coming back from continually making good on the value you promise to deliver. But wait, there’s more if you want gold.
That golden value I am talking about are the little “extras” that transform delivery of a good product or service in ways to make them shine brighter than the competition and the thing is, it’s not difficult, it’s not expensive, and everyone can do it – everyone.
The most concise and complete list of elements of real value-add delivery comes from The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. He shares 10 steps to implement in your business that is based on the special difference that Fred makes in the lives of his “customers,” which are really the people to whom he delivers mail. (You’ll have to read the book to get the entire story and impact.)
Sanborn illustrates the idea with a story of a hospital. Hospitals are, inevitably, a confusing maze to people who visit only occasionally. In one hospital, workers – from doctors to orderlies – were charged with directing people who were lost. But not just by giving them the route requested, but to accompany visitors to their destinations. That one little change transformed customer satisfaction. It was a simple added value that was gold.
That’s what you want to do in your business – turn directions into a gold experience that customers will remember and positively respond to with continued patronage and referrals. Little differences create those ripples that lead to profit – authentically and in line with the values and mission of your business.
It’s all good!
So let me share his 10 steps:
- Tell the truth. Don’t make up excuses, stories or point fingers of blame. The truth may be unwelcome, but in the end, it builds your credibility, reputation, and customer list.
- Practice personality power. Genuine enthusiasm trumps average service and quality. When a table server smiles and says, “We’re glad you came in today,” that is what your customer will remember even if the meal and price were average.
- Attract through artistry. Pay attention to appearances – not just personal appearance, but the appearance of the business location, the packaging, the goods, services – everything. Customers are attracted to attractive and interesting artistry.
- Meet needs in advance. There is power in anticipation. When a car rental company provides a map of the area, customers note it and remember it when they are in the market to rent a car. Likewise in your business. What is it that you can provide your customer – before they even realize they need it? Believe me they will remember that golden value add when they try a competitor.
- Add “good stuff.” Add a joke, a comment or something to smile about along with your service or product. Everyone likes a little uplifting moment delivered with enthusiasm and consistently. Think of the mail order company that always includes a nice little handwritten note in the box of products. Customers talk about it with friends, and look forward to it – coming back more often and regularly…bringing others with them.
- Subtract “bad stuff.” What irritates customers? Waiting? Defects? Mistakes? Irritation and frustration? Misinformation? You know what I mean – because you have experienced and felt the same things. Take great proactive pains to reduce the incidence of customer irritants. Having a good experience with a company one time is one thing, getting a good experience EVERY time is golden – for you and for your customer.
- Make it as easy as possible for people to get what they need from your business. No one likes to deal with a long, protracted buy process and when working with you feels like a job, customers will be reluctant to repeat the buy. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Make it easy and smooth.
- Keep getting better at what you do. In 1869, H. J. Heinz coined a phrase that should be your goal: “To do the common thing uncommonly well.”
- Surprise others. You might think that doing all the above would surprise people, and you might be right. But add in random special efforts to target clients with a surprise. That WILL be a nice, golden surprise that makes the client feel special, honored and appreciated.
- Entertain others. Think about the Japanese restaurants where your dinner is cooked right at your table. Do you go there for the food or for the entertainment (Both if it’s a great dining spot)? What can you do that will entertain your clients? Turn an ordinary experience into a golden moment – and memory – for your customer.
You are good at what you do – create the golden aura around that to commit your business to the memories of customers. You do that by adding value. These may seem like irrelevant or superfluous elements. But all you have to do is think about how you would respond as a customer yourself.
To Your Success!