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How To Make Customers Fall in Love With Your Business
Bruno: Think about this, why would people get into an agreement that is win-lose. The only way that they will get into a win-lose agreement, is because they were deceived or manipulated – and they realize this later. Nobody’s shooting their feet, why they would get into that agreement. And what I always tell my clients is to avoid all these conditions that are hidden in contracts, where we call the fine print.
It’s not good. When customers discover these, they’re very annoyed, very frustrated. And when they discover these and they feel trapped which is very bad from the customer perspective, then they will try to look for alternative solutions. They will try to look for other suppliers. They will try to look for other companies and if possibly, they can leave this company and that might be costly.
They will leave negative reviews all over the internet, so we do not want this. We don’t not want manipulation. We always want to be transparent, not misleading customers, not forcing them to buy something that they don’t want. Because this is what we call cognitive dishonesty, which means customers feel regretful.
Then they try to return the problem, in some cases, they cannot return the product, you cannot return a service. And in some cases, if they cannot do anything, they might leave a very negative review. These will be negative ambassadors promoting your company in a negative way.
Sean: Well, we call them here as detractors and you’re right.
When you do that, when you have a win-lose, you lose the customer right there and then even if they sign the contract and give you their money.
Bruno: A win-lose doesn’t mean only win-lose with this customer. So you will, first of all, this customer is losing. You’re winning. But you will lose this customer and you will lose potential customers that could have come if this customer was satisfied. If the customer was satisfied, they could have brought to your company additional customers. So you’re not only losing this customer while you’re losing other potential customers. So remember that every customer has a network. And when you satisfy a customer, these customers are more prone to recommend your company to the network.
The opposite happens when you have them satisfied. I always use a very interesting quote from Tom Peters that he always observed the famous management guru and said that, “always under promise and over deliver” under promise and over deliver this means be humble with your approach. Try to show your products in a humble way, we’re not boasting about this.
But then try to surprise in a positive way, try to exceed their expectation because satisfying their needs is basic, this is the default stage should be. But exceeding that expectation means going beyond their expectation. I always tell my clients a very simple example, here I’m based in London now for many years.
And in London you have different coffee shops, the big chains. And I’m half Italian and I observed that some coffee shops are very customer oriented, very compassionate with their clients. And for example, I went to a coffee shop here and I asked for a cappuccino, and this waiter went to my table and told me “I will bring the cappuccino.”
15 minutes later, they brought the cappuccino, and it was already cold. Brought it late, and it didn’t meet my expectations. They didn’t even satisfy my minimum needs. I went to the competitor, the other coffee shop, a big chain too. And I went there, and they asked me “only cappuccino?” and it was similarly priced.
They told me to go to a table. They brought it one minute later, it was hot, and then the waiter left. But they came back and said, “no sorry I forgot the tray with the biscuits.” I said, “No, no, I’m not forgetting anything.” “No, this is a gift for you, for you to enjoy with your cappuccino.” First company didn’t even meet the basic needs.
Second company exceeded my needs. Which company do you think that I’m going back now?
Sean: It’s definitely not the first one.
Bruno: Not the first one. So it’s quite funny, but little gestures make a lot of difference. Because you are generous when you’re focusing on them, bcause you are serving them, you are not selling. You are serving them. You’re making them feel comfortable about the purchasing experience.
Because customers want to feel comfortable, not only when they get the product. Even before buying the product, during the buying process and after buying the product, we call this touch point. During the buying process, customers should be comfortable with asking questions, when checking the condition, when asking about usage of the product, or risk involved with the product.
All these questions should be clarified and also before buying the product, the customer also has enough information to make a very well-informed decision. So after buying the product, customers should be also open to ask for a clarification on how to use the product, or a clarification of how to return the product or get a refund.
So companies should bring about positive, emotional experience all over the process. Satisfaction of needs has an emotional basis. So when you satisfy customer needs, this means that they feel well about your product, your service, and your company. So it means that they tend to love your product, tend to love your company, and they’re more prone to recommend your company.
Instead, when customers feel dissatisfied, they experience negative emotion. They will feel angry. They will feel resentful, and it is all negative feelings and these will drive customers to look for other products, to be revengeful, to leave negative reviews, online, negative word of mouth.
And this is very bad for the company and also its pushing away all the potential customers that might have come in the future.
Sean: That’s true. I agree with that a hundred percent. Well Doc,I feel like you are doing well because of your attitude, because of how you serve customers, because of your principles. And I want to know for those companies out there, who – regardless, whether they are compassionate or not with their employees are having a very difficult time because of the pandemic, what would be your one big advice to them?
Bruno: Very important thing is try to always focus on again, on the human being. Try to look at the needs, the needs that are not satisfied or employees that are dissatisfied. In the case of employees or customers are dissatisfied, how can we address this need in a much more effective way?
What is missing? For example, if your employees are complaining that during the pandemic, they have some problem with time; work time. Can we offer employees to work from home, or offer some flexible work time? Can we offer them to, for example, start working during the day later and finish later, can we be more flexible with them?
Can we offer them? For example, if they have a lot of time that is devoted to meeting, can we reduce the number of meetings? So asking employees what needs are unmet? So this will be the first important point. So, generally a good solution is started with a good question.
This is my tenet in life; “a good question brings about half the solution”. At least half the solution, so ask your employees what needs are unmet and what are their fears also. Because during the pandemic, you have a lot of fears and anxiety. How can they feel much more at ease, how they can experience, what we call psychological safety.
So, for example, maybe they might need to work, sundays part-time and also some other days full time, or they might need to reduce the number of meetings or have training that is much more simple and oriented. In some cases during the pandemic, they haven’t used any technology before, for example, like MS Teams or Zoom. Well, do these employees need training regarding these?
Can we train them in a way that they feel much more comfortable, much more connected. People, we have to understand pandemic implies social distancing, but that does not mean emotional distancing. We need to be connected. We have to develop trust and cooperation bonds with employees and with customers. So we are not disconnected as human beings, we are still interdependent.
No pandemic can take away our interdependence. We are interdependent. And employees and all human beings have the need for affiliation means being connected to others. We are sociable and social beings. We need to make connections with others. Also checking if the employees have additional difficulties outside the work time.
And also to customer in relation to customer well, I will also, because many companies are sitting online during the pandemic – this is growing up very quickly. Even when you have a very good online platform. I always tell my clients. Can you connect to customers offline, in certain ways, do you have a hotline. Do you have a telephone number the customer can talk to you about? If you have any problem, they kind of go to the shop, because the shop is closed. But what happened, they’re selling online. Well, can we have another way of video conference so that we can talk person to person? Customers have some doubts, they have some needs or complaints, those are very important.
And also two questions that I ask leaders to ask themselves, and also employees of course. How can I be more generous during these challenging times? How can I be more grateful? How can we support one another? Because we have a common goal, and that is to fulfill our objectives, satisfy our needs, but can we do that in a way where everyone’s needs are met.
Everyone’s expectations are met. So how can we help one another? Try to think about the, not only about us, ourselves, but also think about others. How can we support one another?
Sean: That is really critical for a lot of companies to know during this time. Thank you for that doc. And before we wrap up, where can people get in touch with you?
Bruno: Okay. Well, thank you very much for the question. Well, I have two websites that are. “www.brunocignacco.com“. And the other website is “www.humanorientedenterprise.com” and if they want to know more about this idea, they can check in any bookshop online or offline – my new book that is “The Art of Compassionate Business” published by a Routledge that can be found worldwide.
Sean: Awesome. And we will have that in the show notes. If you go to the leadershipstack.com/podcasts, look for the episode with Dr. Bruno Cignacco and you will find all the links there. If we can find your other social media links, like LinkedIn, I’m sure you have a LinkedIn account, but if you have other social media accounts, my production team will have it there linked below, Doc. Thank you so much for your time. We have learned so much and we are better for it.
Bruno: Thank you very much for your invite. I feel very honored, thank you.
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