The simplest way for a business to make its customers happy is to genuinely listen to what they have to say. Talk to them. Call them up. Email them. Meet with them in person. Do whatever they feel comfortable doing. This will help you not only build relationships with your customers, but it will also give you ideas on how to improve your business that you otherwise might have missed.
An Unexpected Meal
I’ll give an example of how this works to show you why it’s so important. I love eating at buffet-style restaurants, but I seldom go to them because it would take forever to burn off all the calories I’d consume. So I really want those few times I go to be special.
Unfortunately, the last time I went to one of my favorite restaurants, something was amiss. They ran out of chicken wings for quite a while, and their watermelon didn’t live up to its usual freshness standards. Their other food was great, but those two things stood out to me because those are my favorite things to eat at that particular restaurant.
An Unexpected Response
At the end of the meal, the waitress gave me a card with a Web address I could visit to fill out a short survey. I did so soon after my visit, and I was surprised the next morning to receive a call from the store manager in response. He apologized profusely for not living up to my expectations, and he offered me a free gift card for my trouble.
I was stunned that he would take the time to call me over something I viewed as trivial. I told him that I love his restaurant’s food, and this was just a complete fluke. I didn’t think my opinion was worthy of such a personal response, so I was deeply flattered. The manager’s efforts to show he cared made me eager to help him improve.
I’ve filled out many customer surveys in the past, but this was the first time I had ever heard back from someone about it. The display of concern about my feelings made me want to return to that restaurant soon (not just because they gave me a free gift card). I don’t think it’s possible for business leaders to respond to every criticism they receive from customers, but making the attempt could yield positive results.
You can’t please everyone all the time. I don’t think anyone reasonably expects companies to be flawless. But if you show that you’re always trying to improve and you’re listening to what your customers have to say, you’ll be more likely to make a good impression that will increase your repeat business. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.