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-Our guest blogger- Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of the best-selling marketing series in history, “Guerrilla Marketing,” plus 30 other books. His books have sold 14 million copies worldwide. His guerrilla concepts have influenced marketing so much that today his books appear in 41 languages and are required reading in many MBA programs worldwide. He was a teacher and sounding board for The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz, M.D. and Marion Ross, Ph.D.) ; and after many discussions strongly encouraged us to publish a book (soon to be released) designed to assist people who struggle with implementing tools learned in business or entrepreneurial coaching programs due to self-sabotage. For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com
All business owners care about their customers, but guerrilla marketers prove they care. Here are twenty ways that they prove it.
It’s very easy to care about your customers, but unless you take steps to show them that you care, they might be wooed away by a competitor. Your marketing can say all the right words and tell customers how important they are to you. But you’ve got to prove your dedication to customers — and prospects — by taking concrete steps beyond mere words.
Guerrillas know that there’s a world of difference between customer care and customer attention. Many companies lavish attention upon their customers, but only the guerrillas excel at caring and know how to make customers feel sincerely cared for. Here are twenty ways that they do it:
1. Prepare a written document outlining the principles of your customer service. This should come from the president, but everyone should know what it says and be ready to live up to it.
2. Establish support systems that give clear instructions for gaining and maintaining service superiority. They help you out-service any competitor by giving more to customers and solving problems before they arise.
3. Develop a precise measurement of superb customer service and reward employees who practice it consistently. Many will if you hire people who really want to render great service and don’t just do it because they should.
4. Be certain that your passion for customer service runs rampant throughout your company and not just at the top. Everyone should feel it.
5. Do all that you must to instill in employees who meet your customers a truly deep appreciation of the value of customer service. They should see how this service relates to your profits and to their future.
6. Be genuinely committed to providing more customer service excellence than anyone else in your industry. This commitment must be so powerful that every one of your customers can sense it.
7. Be sure that everyone in your company who deals with customers pays very close attention to the customer. Each customer should feel unique and special after they’ve contacted you or been contacted by you.
8. Ask questions of your customers, then listen carefully to their answers. Ask customers to expand upon their answers.
9. Stay in touch with your customers. Do it with letters, postcards, newsletters, phone calls, questionnaires and, if you can, at trade shows.
10. Nurture a human bond as well as a business bond with customers and prospects. Do favors for them. Educate them. Help them. Give gifts. Play favorites. Take them out to the ballgame or the opera. Your customers deserve to be treated this special.
11. Recognize that your customers have needs and expectations. You’ve got to meet their needs and exceed their expectations. Always? Always.
12. Understand why successful corporations such as 3M define service as “conformance to customer requirements.” This means that true guerrilla service is just what the customer wants it to be. Not easy, but necessary.
13. Keep alert for trends, and then respond to them. McDonald’s operates under the axiom, “We lead the industry by following our customers.”
14. Share information with people on the front line. Disney workers meet regularly to talk about improving their service. Information-sharing is easier than ever with new communications technologies. Share information with customers and prospects by having a website that is loaded with helpful data. More and more, this is becoming mandatory.
15. Because customers are humans, observe birthdays and anniversaries. Constant communication should be your goal. If you find an article in the media that will help a customer, send a copy of the article to that customer.
16. Consider holding “mixers” so customers can get to know your people better and vice-versa. Mixers are breeding grounds for human bonds.
17. Invest in phone equipment that makes your business sound friendly, easy to business with, easy to contact and quick to respond. Again, technology makes this easier than ever. Along with phone equipment, let customers know they can contact you by fax and e-mail.
18. Design your physical layout for efficiency, clarity of signage, lighting, handicap accessibility and simplicity. Everything should be easy to find.
19. Act on the knowledge that what customers value most are attention, dependability, promptness and competence. They just love being treated as individuals and being referred to by their name. Don’t you?
20. When it comes to customer service, Nordstrom is a superstar, though Disney gives them a run for their money and Micsosoft is doing a bang-up job with their website. Find it at www.microsoft.com/smallbiz. The Nordstrom service manual is eloquent in its simplicity: “Use your good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.”
Guerrillas send postage-paid questionnaire cards and letters asking for suggestions. They fix the trouble areas revealed and know well the relationship between proving their care and success.
Jay Conrad Levinson (with The Shift Doctors: Tracy Latz, M.D. & Marion Ross, Ph.D.)
– For more on Jay Conrad Levinson visit www.gmarketing.com
*Check out The Shift Doctors’ books, videos & CDs at the Shift Your Life Site http://shiftyourlife.com/shift-store/