People like friendly businesses. The friendly-factor doesn’t require a large investment, but it does require thoughtful consideration.
In the midst of technology advancements, business owners must not miss this critical ingredient to business success – friendliness. The old adage is right, “People like to do business with people they like.” As my friend Bob Burg says, “All things equal, people will do business with and refer business to, people they know, like and trust.”
One mistake many businesses both large and small make is to sacrifice efficiency for friendliness. While successful companies have learned how to be efficient and friendly.
Ask yourself the following four questions to assess your friendly-factor.
1. Do customers enjoy buying your products and services?
Your customer experience is a fundamental element to the success of your business. If a customer has to jump through hurdles and difficulties to get your product or service you will lose their attention and sales. Focus on creating an enjoyable purchase process to ensure repeat business and referrals.
Question: What is one change my company make to enhance the purchase experience?
2. Do you reward employees for being nice?
Dale Carnegie, one of the most prolific business minds of all time shared this simple principle, “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” Friendly companies cultivate aculture of happiness that teaches employees how to be happy and kind to co-workers and customers.
Question: Have you ever measured how friendly your employees are to your customers?
3. Do your customers feel appreciated?
One essential component to friendliness is appreciation. We simply don’t stay friends with people for very long if we feel they don’t appreciate us. The same goes for customers and your business. Customers desire to be appreciated. Words such as “thank you” and “we appreciate you” can go a long way in customer service and the overall customer experience.
Create an appreciation plan that fits your company values, mission, culture and most importantly, something everyone can participate in and benefit from.
Question: How do you let customers know you are thankful for their business?
4. Do you listen and solve problems?
Listening is an under-appreciated art. Great companies teach their employees how to listen to complaints and solve problems. In today’s economy, listening is more important than actually solving the problem. The reality is customers have very few places that listen to their concerns, thoughts, and complaints.
Question: Do your customers feel like your company listens to them?
Perhaps some of these tips will remind you that "Service with a Smile" goes a long way and will give you rave reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. People buy from people they like and they will give your business 5 stars and refer you to their friends. Social media and word of mouth is powerful! Use it to your advantage!
Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.