How to Get and Keep Customers


Legendary Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt once said: “The purpose of every business is to create and keep a customer.”

How do you do that? How do you create and keep customers?

Let's take a page from soccer. Soccer, the most popular, most loved, game in the world (everywhere but the USA, that is), is currently in the midst of its World Cup games in South Africa. Have you watched any of it? The fans have been going gaga on a global scale!

In the stadium, the fans are blowing their vuvuzelas like maniacs. The sound is like a giant beehive. One woman reportedly blew out her throat (not life threatening, but painful nonetheless). This is fan-atacism like you can't believe!

Years ago, prolific management author Dr. Ken Blanchard, the co-developer of Situational Leadership and co-author of the One Minute Manager, co-wrote a book called Raving Fans. The question he addressed was, How do you turn your customers into raving fans? The simple yet powerful idea at the heart of his book is: Understand Your Customer and Deliver Beyond their Expectations.

Think about the times when you have been a customer. Focus on the times that were the best, most memorable customer service experiences of your life. Perhaps it was at a hotel when you were on vacation; or at a restaurant; or even an automobile service station.

What was it that made you a "raving fan?" Chances are, it was how the staff interacted with you, how the staff treated you, how the staff made you feel.

When you come right down to it, the "secret" to creating and keeping customers is your staff. Who are you hiring? How are you training them? How are you motivating them? How are you paying them? How well are you taking care of them?

Bill Marriott once famously said: "Take great care of your people, they'll take great care of your customers, and your customers will come back and back and back."

Marriott knew in his bones what we are now rediscovering in the field of Employee Engagement: Take good care of your employees and they will take good care of your customers...and your business.

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This article was written by Terrence Seamon, originally published on HR.Blognotions on June 29, 2010. For more customer service, management, and employee engagement tips like this, check out Terry's website Facilitation Solutions and invite him to your organization.

Comments

Diahann said…
Southwest Airlines is taking the same approach. Their number one priority is their employee. If their employees are happy, their customers will be happy. It sounds so simple, but WOW - Southwest Airlines sales are impressive. Conversely, I was at a retail shop over the weekend. It closed at 8p. At 7:45p, the employees started turning down the lights for people to leave. When I asked why, they said they are in trouble if they are not clocked out immediately at closing. I decided to take my business elsewhere.

Great insights.
Diahann
Terrence Seamon said…
Southwest is a great example. I've studied them, even going on a field trip to Texas some years ago to get a closer look. What sounds simple is actually ingrained in their culture through leadership example, rigorous hiring, training, and constant reinforcement.
Thanks for stopping by!

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