Me First! Then Be First! Six Proactive Steps That Keep’em Coming Back!
I talk a lot about putting customers first and making them feel like number one; but, if we want to create a “me first” mentality in the minds of our customers, the reasons that keep customers coming back time and time again, there are some things that we must be first in. Here are six things to strive for to keep you ranked at the top.
1. Greet first. Nothing is more disturbing than to walk into an establishment and have absolutely no one acknowledge your existence. Or perhaps worse, to have someone acknowledge your presence, yet do nothing about it. I walked into a financial institution once and the person at the front desk saw me coming and made no effort whatsoever to smile or speak to me. I walked all the way up to her and had to start the conversation with “excuse me, but”. This is totally unacceptable! On the other hand nothing is more pleasing than walking into an establishment and someone on purpose meets me, and energetically says “hello and welcome, how may I help you?” They even stand up first! Wow!
I challenge you that if you really want to be viewed as the number one choice in your industry, you need to make it a habit of greeting customers first. This clearly shows them you are expecting them and are ready to make this an unforgettable experience. Greet first!
2. Names first. If a new customer approaches, after your proactive greeting, introduce yourself first, or if they are a returning customer, say their name first and welcome them back. Names are critical to the personal approach. Each time a name is used effectively it clearly demonstrates this is no cookie-cutter experience, rather a personal one. Names first!
3. Deliver first. If you need to introduce a customer to another service provider in your organization, the personal hand-off is critical. Deliver first says “I’ll show you the way” vs. “you need to go that way”. Again personal experience took me to a place where the greeter informed me that the person I needed to see was “that way” and simply pointed south! Too vague for my taste. The personal delivery that is called for here is a personal hand-off and introduction to the service provider. Deliver first!
4. Thank you first. Don’t let a customer or client leave your presence without you thanking them for coming in or choosing you. Your thank you should be the last thing encountered with you. The exit should be as memorable as the entrance. No further elaboration needed. Thank you first!
5. Follow up first. Here is something that really demands personal attention and time. After completing a transaction, be it a new sale or a service request, be first to follow up to make sure all is well. If you are in an industry that requires you stay in constant contact with clients for things like annual reviews, be first to contact them to set it up. Don’t wait for a call from a concerned client wondering where you are? Ouch. Did that hurt? I hope so; it did me too, until I chose otherwise! Follow up first!
6. Responsible first. Finally and perhaps the most difficult thing to be first in is taking responsibility. I’m talking about for everything; your attitude, your results, your decision making your choices, everything. Do not blame circumstances or obstacles. Everybody has them. I don’t know any one person that does not have issues to deal with. There will be times when you make mistakes. Take responsibility for them, correct them and move on. The toughest words anyone can say but at the same time can produce the greatest benefits are “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong”.
On the same note, however, be proud of your successes and let them catapult you to new heights. Give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. Give credit where credit is due. Responsible first!
So there you have it. Six things I hope you strive to be first in. I believe if you choose to stay number one in these areas, those you serve will always have you at the top of their list and your trophy case will never be big enough!