Want To Get The Edge On Your Competition For Free? Try Courtesy
Today I flew into Montana for a work conference. I was running on fumes with only 3 hours of sleep, hungry, and unsure of what to expect.
I dragged myself down to the hotel restaurant, thinking I'd likely just order a little dinner to go before crashing in my room.
Three hours and a 30% tip later, I came back to my room humming tunes and bragging up this place to anyone who would listen.
What was it that made such a huge impact? It wasn't the food, even though it was pretty good. It wasn't the pricing, which also wasn't bad. It wasn't even the view which was magical.
It was the level of courteous service and the little extra they did over and above what was needed to make me feel important.
Simple things like creating a space for me outside when things looked to be full...and then offering me an extra cushion for my chair.
Giving me local tips on where to find the best BBQ in town, where to get a swimsuit and water shoes for rafting (I forgot mine).
They even took the time to learn where I was from, what my hobbies were, and helped me get weather reports for kayaking in the morning.
They chatted me up, talked about things I was interested in (without neglecting other customers), and made me feel welcome.
And I rewarded them for it without batting an eye because they made me feel really good.
Isn't that the way businesses should be?
Maybe I'm old fashioned. I grew up with full-service gas stations and hearing the motto "the customer is always right."
Now we live in an era where we are lucky if we can even reach a live person, let alone have any meaningful interaction.
Is courtesy in business nearly extinct? Perhaps we should be doing more to save courtesy and let it thrive. After all, it can have tremendous positive impact for both customers and businesses.
I know it can be tough to be courteous all the time when it seems like there is always a "Karen" around the corner. Always demanding more than what is needed and asking to speak to a manager or an owner. It seems like there is no pleasing a customer when you have to deal with that sort of behavior.
But for every Karen, there are at least 3 Sherals who are so appreciative of any bit of attention or help you can offer. And it's the Sherals, or Julies, or Chris and Scotts of the world that will make your business thrive.
So how can you turn a little courtesy into a business building tool?
1. Remember the customer's name if they offer it.
That simple personal touch tells your customer you cared enough to pay attention. It tells them they matter. It tells them you will give them personal service, because by remembering their name, you've connected on a personal level.
2. Be an active listener.
This goes beyond remembering their name. If they've shared a personal detail- in town for a conference, a wedding, they've forgotten an item, etc- pay attention and remember it. Offer information to help them or supplement the topic with specifics.
3. Be eager to help solve a problem for them, even if you've solved it 76 times already in the same day.
Yes, you likely have dealt with the same repeat problem day in and day out for a long period of time. You've solved it so many times you've become jaded about it. But to that customer, it might be the first time they've experienced an issue. Being the "hero" for them will create gratitude and bonding with the customer.
4. Speaking of gratitude, show some of your own.
Take the extra time to let customers know how much you appreciate them and your happiness in being able to serve and help them. Once again, it give them a personal experience and makes them feel special.
How do these simple acts help you to grow your business?
They encourage loyalty
They encourage repeat business
They encourage word of mouth referrals
They encourage trust and a reputable brand image
And the best part about it? It's free and makes you (and your customers) feel good.
So the next time you're looking to grow your business and revenue, start by showing some extra courtesy. You never know when someone like me will be ready to reward you for it.
Sheral~ Owner/Founder of C3 Specialties