Make it a pleasure to do business with you

Having a customer is a privilege. Without them, your company would have no revenue and your staff no pay cheques. Yet human nature being what it is, we tend to focus on the tasks we have to complete and see customers as being a distraction or even a nuisance because they take our time and our energy. Even people who have nothing to do but look after customers can fall into the trap of seeing a customer with a special need or difficult problem as someone who is stopping them from serving other customers. And customers with a complaint are seen by most of us as a threat, someone to be got rid of quickly.

But if you work out the lifetime value of your customers, you will count yourself lucky to have them and as a result, you will build an organisation that works for your customers, not one that makes your customers work for your organisation.You will do things quickly and you will make it easy for your customers to do business with you. You will create policies and processes that ensure your customers are looked after and not ones that protect the company against your customers. You will put your customers in the centre of your world (probably on a pedestal) and learn as much about them as you possibly can. You will then use this information to change the way you run your business so it works better for your customer tomorrow than it did yesterday.

If your staff understand that it is the customers who are paying their wages, they will be glad to see them. They will treat them with respect and they will be focused on their customers and not on what they will be having for lunch. Through their facial expression, body language, tone of voice and general behaviour, they will show their customers they are delighted to have the opportunity to help them and your customers will feel valued as a result. The attitude of your staff will be 'can do will do' and they will be keen to do whatever it takes to satisfy your customers, happily going the extra mile if that is what is needed.

Encourage your staff to think like your customers not about them. I have listened to a lot of customers in my lifetime and I know that what separates a great experience from an ordinary one is whether staff show compassion, patience and empathy. If your staff can put themselves in their customers shoes before they make a decision, take an action or even open their mouths, they are likely to make doing business with your company a pleasure.

People want to do business with companies they like. Does your company have a likable personality in the eyes of your customers? How do they want you to look? Does your image match that? What do they want you to support? Does your sponsorship programme reflect that? How do they want you to act? Is your behaviour consistent with that?

If your customers find themselves dealing with a company with whom it is easy to do business, with staff who are delighted to see them and care about their interests, and with an organisation whose personality they like, then they will find doing business with you to be a pleasure. Getting them to come back to buy again will be easy, and price will not be the issue.