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Opportunity is knocking

It is widely acknowledged that the number one reason customers quit doing business with a company is due to perceived indifference towards them as customers.

When I ask audiences to describe what it feels like to be treated indifferently, I receive responses such as, “I feel unimportant” and “I feel as if I don’t matter.”

Customers are important and customers do matter.

If indifferent treatment is the number one problem, then it reasons that it’s also the number one opportunity.

Years ago, I read The Pursuit of Wow!, an influential book by Tom Peters. In it, he makes the following comparison between bookstore salespersons, Joe Doaks and Jane Blivens:

A customer comes to Joe’s register to check out. “Hey, I saw the book Ike and Monty: Generals at War on your shelf,” he says. “I’m reading it. It’s really great.” Joe looks at him glassily, keeps working the register, and mutters, “Uh huh” in a total and final acknowledgment.

Jane Blivens is at the register. Same customer. Same line, Ike and Monty, etc. Jane responds, “That’s great. What did you like about it?” The customer gives a 45-second description, completes the transaction, and leaves.

What has Jane done? She’s lit up the customer by paying attention.

Peters concludes: “This story is aimed at retailers (hire the Jane clones, fire the Joe look-alikes; encourage clerks to be chatty, not officious, distracted automatons). And aimed at could-be Joes and could-be Janes: Regardless of the company rules and regulations, you have enormous power, on your own, to grow—or shrivel.”

Frontline employees have a choice: Treat customers indifferently or, as Peters suggests, light them up by paying attention to them.

Opportunity is knocking during every interaction you have with customers. Don’t shrivel in their presence! Make the choice to treat customers differently—as important partners in your business who matter a great deal—and marvel as you and your business grow!

Besides paying attention to them, what are some other ways to treat customers differently?

Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
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