One of the biggest things that you’ll have to face as a business owner is a seemingly endless array of distractions – on a daily basis. Distractions from new product/services decisions, new opportunities, deadlines, suppliers, clients, business partners, the family, your staff, the accountant – they comes at you from all directions. Then there are the seemingly endless emails, phone calls, admin and meetings. All of which can fracture your focus. Don’t let it. Research has showed time and again that the most successful organisations put their customers at the centre of all they do. And by that I don’t mean nice (and often meaningless) mission and vision statements on a wall. I’m talking about having your customers (or clients depending on what you do), feel like they have your complete attention when you’re talking to them – whether that’s on the phone, email, Skype or in meetings.
Why focus makes you more successful The reason putting your real focus on your customer works a treat, is because people buy from people they know, like and trust. It’s a little hard to build real rapport (which comes before trust) with someone when you’re juggling a million other things. Have you ever had the experience of meeting with someone who is constantly distracted by a constantly ringing phone? Or talking to someone on the phone who’s also click, click, clicking on a key board sending emails and only sort of listening to you? Frustrating isn’t it?
Have You Ever Done That to One of Your Customers?
Building rapport is a process of establishing trust and understanding. If your customer or prospect trusts you they are more likely to share valuable information with you which gives you the opportunity to provide a tailored and unique solution to meet their needs. But if you’re too busy reading/sending text messages, or emails, etc – you’re highly likely to miss something and that something might make all the difference between winning that customer – or not. If you’re a small business owner, multitasking is understandable – you’ve only got so many hours in the day and if you’re in a meeting with a client and your phone rings, it could be a new client eager to do business with you. However, if you want to really grow your reputation for great customer service and your business at the same time, it’s not really excusable. Aside from which, there’s a huge body of research that shows it’s easier to keep (and get more business from) the customers you have than it is to get new business from new customers. The caveat to that is that the customers have to feel like you’re genuinely interested in them (68% of all lost customers defect because they didn’t feel anyone was interested in them). But how do you do that when you’ve got so much other stuff going on?
My Five Top Tips for Staying Customer Focussed;
1. First of all, get clear on who your customers are and what they want. Consider everything else to be secondary.
2. Next, get very clear on what it is that you do that no-one else does like you can and why that’s important to your customers. Make that your core focus for a specified period of time (this quarter, the next six or 12 months). As a business owner there are so many options for tinkering with what we do or changing it altogether, starting side businesses, etc. But if you stay true to your course – as directed by what your customers want, your customer offering will be stronger and you’ll find there are less distractions.
3. For everything that’s not directly talking to your current customers, ask yourself, “could someone else do this for me?” You’ll find the answer to this question is almost always yes. For example;
- Do you need to personally answer every phone call that comes in? No.
- Do you need to answer every email immediately? No – most people are happy if they get an answer the same day. If it’s more urgent, they’ll likely call you.
- Do you need to look after booking meetings in your diary? Probably not.
- Do you need to do your own admin, book-keeping, etc – not if you’re to keep your current customers happy and your business is to grow.
4. When you get in front of your customer – really listen to what they’re saying. Ask them lots of questions and get them to talk about their favourite subject – themselves. Don’t be tempted to talk about yourself. They’ll think you’re great if you’ve listened to what they say.
5. Ensure you give them your full attention by turning off your phone and email. Or if you’re in your office and you’re on the phone, face away from your screen. Clarity and focus are all you need to build a great customer focused business. Once you’ve found someone to answer your phone calls, do your admin, etc, you can relax knowing that part of your business is being looked after. And that will then free you up to focus on your most important task – making your customer feel like they’re the most important person in your world. I’d love it if you followed me on twitter or you can connect with me via linkedin. And please feel free to share what’s worked for you in your business. If we can help you keep your focus on what matters to you in your business be it outsourcing administration, answering your phone or providing a great meeting space at a moment’s notice, please call us on +61 2 9994 8000 or visit us www.serviced.com.au