05 December 2011

Smart businesses are always one step ahead of their customers…

Have you ever been into a business where they seem to read your mind? Just as you have a thought, there is someone ­standing beside you with the exact item that you were thinking about. Or as you stand looking at shelf upon shelf of products, a knight in shining armour comes to your rescue and hands you the exact product that you need, with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.

These businesses are excellent but, unfortunately, they are few and far between. It seems like they can literally read your mind but of course it’s much simpler than that. If a family enters a restaurant with small children, there is every chance that they will need a little assist­ance, but time after time I see families struggling to get seated, looking around desperately for a high chair, all the while being ignored by the restaurant staff, who act as if it is the first time they have seen a child before.

Smart customer service is all about being one step ahead of your customers—knowing them so well that you can meet their expectations without them even having to tell you what those expectations are.

Rather than waiting for the customer to make their request, try to be one step ahead of them. If they have a lot of packages, ask them if they would like them delivered or if they would like help taking them to their car.

If the customer is moving house and you are the removalists, offer to give them a printed inventory of their belongings for their insurance company or to call them the day before the furniture will arrive.

If you run a clothing shop and a customer buys some clothes that will need alterations, offer to have them done before the customer asks.

If your customers need to do any form of writing to complete a sale, give them a pen before they ask for it.

Not only is this simply a smart way to do business, it’s also a great way to generate some extra income. Friends of mine run a boarding kennel for dogs and they offer a grooming service, for a fee, which means you can pick up Fido all nice and clean after his stay in the Pet Resort.

This sounds like pretty straight forward stuff, but the real problem is that most people serving in a business are more preoccupied with what is going on in their world than they are with what is going on in their customers world. We have to be extra careful that this is not a trap that we all fall into from time to time.

So go ahead, make your customers think you have some kind of mystical power and figure out what they need before they do.

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