Customers are the heart of your business, and it is critical that they are happy with the products and/or services you provide. To ensure you provide service beyond their expectations, and create life-long customers, you will want to incorporate a concept known as “Raving Fans”.
“Raving Fans” is a book written by Ken Blanchard. The concept behind creating Raving Fan customers is simply to figure out what your vision is, determine your customer’s vision, and then deliver against that vision plus 1%. What does this mean?
Simply put, as the owner of a business or as the owner of your part of the business-from receptionist to CEO, you have the power to either turn people toward your business or turn them away. Creating a vision for your specific area of responsibility includes incorporating everything you want your business to be, and everything that you believe is necessary to be successful. For example, if you are a receptionist, you have incredible client power. Your voice is the first one heard when a client calls in, and you can make or break a client relationship simply with how you answer and handle phone calls. Instead of answering the phone: “Thank you for calling ABC company, how may I direct your call?”; try this: “It’s a great day at ABC company! This is (insert name), how may I assist you today?”
How refreshing and more personal is that? That makes a customer or potential customer want to talk with you, and will instill confidence in them that you can, indeed, help them!
Once your vision is in place for the way you wish to operate, you will want to check that against your customer’s ideas for who they believe you should be. For example, many convenience stores sell coffee-some even sell gourmet coffee-but how many have a coffee shop, bakery, deli, and Internet cafe actually attached to the convenience store (complete with a fireplace and comfortable, overstuffed chairs)? This convenience store, located in a small town in Iowa, has a vision for how they want to deliver service to their customers-they want their customers to come and buy their gas and various sundries… and then come back when they can stay longer for a good cup of coffee to read a good book or chat with friends. They even provide live entertainment on Friday nights for those who want to come out for a piece of home-made cheesecake! Does it match their customers’ vision for who they should be?
One of the managers once indicated that they were not a “Panera”. Their focus is not on delivering a variety of breads and pastries, although they do carry them. Their focus is on a more well-rounded approach to their customer base. Obviously, not every customer wants this type of atmosphere, and might prefer the “Paneras” of the world. If that’s the case, then the owners of this convenience store/cafe are OK with that. They would rather keep their regular customer base and watch it grow based on a shared vision than try to be something they do not want to be.
Finally, “Deliver against your vision plus 1%”. Once your vision is in place for how you want to interact with customers-deliver against that plus 1% improvement against that vision every day. The great thing about vision is that it changes with time, customer needs, market needs, and personal or professional needs. Adjust accordingly, but continue to deliver the core of what you started when you realigned yourself to create true “Raving Fans” customers.
The bottom line is this: to create customers who not only come back, but go out of their way to visit your establishment or to purchase your products or services, it is imperative that you provide service far beyond “satisfactory” to ensure that those customers don’t shop anywhere but where you are. Satisfied customers will keep looking once they are “hungry” again-or may shop your competition if there is a cheaper like product for sale. Raving Fan customers won’t even think about going anywhere but to you and will tell everyone about how great your service is.
To survive in business or in your job-you need Raving Fan customers. Otherwise, you will leave people wanting more and remaining simply satisfied.