Monday, March 28, 2011

Customer and Client Satisfaction Utopia

Every business owner wants completely satisfied customers or clients. Here are four realizations I’ve experienced we can all use to help us reach this Utopia.

Realization #1: I can’t be everything to everyone.

This was a tough one for me to learn. There was a time I truly believed I could be all things to all people. But as time has passed, I’ve realized the power of the niche. If we decide who we are and what we’re about, we can create a following in just about any space we choose.

Realization #2: I can be the best at one thing.

In the movie, “City Slickers,” Jack Palance’s character, Curly, tells Billy Crystal’s character, Mitch, the secret to life is one thing. When Mitch asks what the one thing is, Curly tells him that’s what he has to figure out.

So is the challenge for each of us. When we each figure out what the one thing is for us, we can move forward with full confidence and achieve greater success than we have previously imagined. I looked for my “one thing” for a long time before understanding it was right in front of me. It has proven to be increasingly powerful as I’ve acted on it.

Realization #3: I must consistently make up-front agreements.

We’re all products of our experiences. Because of this, many situations in which a person feels mistreated isn’t because another party is trying to do the wrong thing, but rather because we all have different opinions as to what is acceptable or expected. A simple, but not necessarily easy, way to overcome this hurdle is to consistently make up-front agreements with those with whom we are doing business.

Assume nothing. Disclose everything. Re-check levels of understanding and agreement often.

This may seem like overkill, but when a misunderstanding does arise, the chances of being seen as a fair person who works hard to avoid such conflict just may be the difference between saving or losing a client.

Realization #4: If a shortcoming is mine, I’ll eat it.

No matter how hard we try to foresee every possible contingency, life is just too fast and unpredictable to always be right. That may be a hard fact to swallow, but it’s true nevertheless. Despite our best efforts to be focused, to be the best at what we do, and to make meaningful agreements with others, we’re going to misstep from time to time. When a shortcoming is ours, or even when we see that from another’s perspective it could be ours, we should be quick to take ownership and make things right.

This may mean some extra time on our part, it may require the addition of some value to a transaction to create compensation for the misunderstanding, and it may even take money out of our pockets at times. In the end, we lose little (and often gain a lot) by being stand-up and watching out for the best interests of our clients and others with whom we do business.

Should we become door mats for every abuser who comes our way? Absolutely not. But that’s a topic for another day…

Here’s to your marketing success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

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