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Entrepreneurs often think they must do whatever they can to satisfy their customers. But satisfied customers defect all the time, and if you want to derive a competitive advantage from the product or service experience you offer, it's not enough to satisfy people--you need to impress them.
That's what success in business really comes down to: Delivering experiences that people don't enjoy just in the moment, but also remember well into the future--thereby cultivating the repurchase and referral behaviour that's the lifeblood of any organization.
The last thing that happens in an interaction has a disproportionate influence on people's overall impression and memory of the experience (a consequence of the "recency bias," as it's known in psychology).
To help end on a high note, conclude calls, meetings, e-mails, and any other type of interaction with a recap of what specifically you're committing to do to help the person you're serving. This will instill confidence in your customer, showing them that you have everything under control.
When making commitments--be it to call someone, deliver a proposal, or provide requested information--don't promise to get back to people "soon" or "shortly," because those terms mean different things to different people.
In most business contexts, ambiguity is the enemy. Uncertainty deprives people of what's known in psychology circles as "perceived control," and, as a result, it makes the experience feels less pleasant. Avoid ambiguity by proactively communicating a specific time or date when you'll be in touch, and then honour that commitment.
"I can help you with that." If you confidently utter those words to a customer or an employee who comes to you for assistance, it immediately changes the tenor of the interaction.
To the person on the receiving end, it's a signal of ownership and advocacy--an indication that someone is taking personal accountability for addressing their needs. That makes customers feel heard, understood, and cared for--emotional cues that help cement the memory of the encounter in their heads. Be sure to not just signal ownership, but to actually take ownership.
Imagine submitting a purchase inquiry through a "Contact Us" form on a business's website--and then hearing back from a company rep within minutes. Exceptional responsiveness is a rarity in today's world, and when we encounter something novel and unexpected, our brain is biochemically primed to forge long-term memories about that experience.
People often like to create the illusion that they're busier than they are, so they sit on that e-mail, text, or voicemail for a while, making their customer or colleague wait.
If you work in a retail environment, be sure someone is greeting customers within 10 feet or 10 seconds of entering the store. That simple act of making eye contact and acknowledging the customer with a prompt and courteous greeting (even if just to say "I'll be with you in about five minutes") sends an important signal: We care about you and your patronage.
The greeting helps to immediately personalize the experience, making customers feel more welcome and appreciated. They'll remember that the next time they consider visiting your store.
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