Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How to Drive Away Customers

All I want is a Thank You.
Is that too much to ask?
Maybe this isn’t a good attitude to have. But…even though I know I’m supposed to have an attitude of gratitude at all times – being thankful for my blessings – it’s really darn annoying when I fork over my hard-earned money to a business and receive nothing back but the service requested.
Nothing more. Just the bare minimum (if even that sometimes).
Just the Bare Necessities
And maybe this is how most people see the world. Even business owners. They go to work, do their “jobs” and go home. Pray that there’s enough money in the account to cover bills at the end of the month. Just enough to get by. Happy to be happy.
To me, it is just simply unacceptable apathy, sloth and stupidity that a local business owner cannot look their customer in the eye and say ‘thank you’ before they leave the store.
If I owned a local main street type store, this would be a requirement of all employees, grounds for immediate termination if not done.
Some big companies get this in a certain regard. Many moons ago one of my first jobs was at Wal-Mart. They had something called a “10 foot” rule at the time (not sure if they still have it or not). The rule was if a customer was within 10 feet of you, you had to say ‘hi’ and ask them how you could help them. Not “do you need any help”, rather, “how” you could help them. And then there were the “greeters.” Friendly folks who would say hi to you on your way in and say thank you on your way out. Big difference.
Speaking of that…
I’ll be I could get paid big bucks for shopping this concept to a big national chain. I can just picture it right now. One day people would go into large coffee chain and every time they left the counter the barrista (are they called that everywhere or only at Starbucks? I dunno…) would smile, look you in the eye and say “thanks for coming in today, please come and see us again soon.”
It would blow people away.
How often are YOU thanked, genuinely, for your business?
Take a count. On your weekend errands, mark down how many people at the stores and shops tell you ‘thanks’? Not “have a nice day” or “have a good one”…but a simple thank you.
Because “have a nice day” is not the same thing as “thank you for your business.”
How do I know this works so well?
Because it has worked perfectly for me in my business.
Where did I pick this up from?
Did my grandpa teach me from behind the counter of his old-world hardware store in a sleepy little town 50 years ago?
I saw this work in action at my office about 4 years ago.
A real estate agent came in for a closing with one of the companies I was sharing office space with (I was in bootstrap mode). The paperwork signed, checks passed. The agent looked their client in the eye, shook their hand and said:
“Thank you for your business.”
Simple. Profound. Effective. Genuine.
Now a top sales trainer might say that was the moment to begin the referral or testimonial gathering process. All I know is the visual transformation I witnessed in that client’s face as those words were spoken. I’m sure glad I was there that day, because I use this phrase at every opportunity and it has been a huge boost to me.
This is where a lot of businesses drive away their customers.
I don’t think it’s conscious in most instances. Could be a state of ignorance.
The other day I was leaving my gym. It’s a national chain franchise, with a local owner. The guy is in there every day. Works it to death. Do you think he could remember the names of his customers? Say ‘thanks for coming in Adam’ each time I was on my way out and passed within 5 feet of him?
Even though it’s a franchise, it’s still a local, small business. Maybe the guy is rolling in money and is just looking for a way to pass the time. Doesn’t matter.
A bigger lesson is at work…
Even if you provide perceived good service/product value above cost but fail to thank and appreciate the customer (like each one was gold) then you will soon be marginalized and become a commodity.
And bankruptcy court is soon waiting in the wings.
Big business and small business alike find this out the hard way. It all sinks in the customers mind and piles up over time. Hopefully you are the exception rather than the rule.

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