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Training your customers

Have you ever noticed that so much attention is given to training employees, but so little to training customers?

You are, at this very moment, training your customers. Every time you interact with your customer in your business, you are communicating something about yourself and your business. In every interaction, no matter how small, your customers are logging information about you and answering questions they don’t even know they have. Such questions are always on the table, no matter how long your client has known you or done business with you.

Questions such as: Is he honest? Can I count on her when something goes wrong? Does what he’s saying to get my business hold true after the ink is dry? Is this business reliable?

Recently needing to put gas in my car, I intentionally drove past the gas station closest to my house. I didn’t pass the station because its prices were too high. They seemed to be comparable to others in the area. Nor did I pass it because of the name brand, or because there is another station I prefer or because of the location.

I passed the gas station because I had been trained to do so. For the past several months, when I pulled into the gas station/convenience store, all the pumps wore signs stating they were out of gas. At least a half dozen other times I pulled in only to learn the station was once again out of the product I needed. I finally learned the lesson the proprietors were teaching me: “You cannot count on us.” Now, I don’t even check because I believe the chances are better than even that I will be disappointed and will have wasted my time.

What are you teaching your customers? Take, for example, just one area of your business like your telephone system. What is your customer’s experience with you on the phone? Are you hard to reach? Do your customers get a busy signal when they call you? Are they left on hold? Are they lost in automated-answering purgatory? Is your phone ever answered rudely?

There are just too many of your competitors in Florida lined up behind you waiting for you to blow it. Is it fair that you were judged based on one phone call? No. Do your creditors care whether or not it’s fair? No.

When your customers shake your hand, when they hear your voice on the phone, when they see your Web site, when they inspect your product, what are you teaching them about yourself? The frustrating thing is that they will never check with you to see whether their impression was correct. They will just make a mental note and, if disappointed, keep looking for a business that will give then the answers they want.

© 2016 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site www.CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com or contact him via e-mail at Charles@CharlesMarshallSpeaker.com

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