Volume 12, Issue 4 - July/August 2008

IWRA Update

Three Tips to Get íEm Talkiní
By
TOM NIZIOLEK

Whatís your companyís greatest asset? Is it your equipment? Nope. Is it your products? No sir. Is it your staff? Itís not them either

Itís your customers. Or, to be more precise, itís your happy customers; because happy customers beget new customers. The challenge, of course, is making sure your customers are happy and motivated to share their enthusiasm with others.

The answer is: do what you say you are going to do when you say you will do it and for the price you said you would. Then the happiness part will take care of itself. Thatís the easy part. The trick is getting them talking. I have read quite a bit about wordof- mouth marketing techniques and Iíve reduced what Iíve learned to a few lessons. Here are three surefire ways to turn customers into advocates for your business.

SURPRISE!
Customers expect quality products, reliable service and competitive prices. Those are prerequisites for any successful business. But people donít talk about the expected; they talk about the unexpectedó like the body shop that polishes all serviced cars or the brewery that personalizes mugs for regulars. Itís the seemingly insignificant surprises that stimulate word-ofmouth referrals. For an automotive tint shop, something as simple as providing a voucher for free windshield washing for life may be just unusual tnough to get car owners buzzing. Residential dealers could leave behind a branded squeegee, perhaps accompanied by care and cleaning instructions for homeowners. Surprises are food for conversation.

LISTEN
Good conversation isnít the science of speaking, but rather the art of listening. Communicating with your customers is no different. When you complete a job, ask your customer what you could have done better. When you lose a job, ask the consumer what you could have done differently. Not everyone is comfortable sharing this type of feedback, but some are. For those that do, show your gratitude by telling them what changes you plan to make as a result of their counsel. Every company should constantly strive to refine and improve. By attributing those enhancements to those who gave feedback, you will show that you not only listened, but acted. This spirit of partnership will help your customers feel a sense of ownership in your company, which, in turn, will create more passionate dialogue.

JUST ASK
Hereís the single most dependable way to get customers to tell a friend about your business: Ask  hem to. People generally are pleased to spread the word about businesses that have served them well. They feel they are providing a service not only to the company, but more importantly to members of their social circle. Sometimes we forget how persuasive our opinions are. All it takes is a polite reminder from someone who might benefit from our influence to get us to realize the power of our voice. WF

Tom Niziolek is president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA). Mr. Niziolekís opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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