The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business Chapter Summaries

Introduction – Download a free copy here.

Chapter 1 – Make Me Feel Welcome (Hope)

Every customer who goes to a physical store, website or chat room is in a somewhat vulnerable condition. They need or want something they can’t provide for themselves. Your company’s job is to give them hope that they’ve come to a place where their problem or desire will be addressed in a helpful, friendly manner. Even if you don’t have what they need or want, the customer feels that this is a place where they will be welcomed to explore possibilities.

What gives people hope is a welcoming feeling. This usually happens during the first few moments of the initial encounter. An organization or business only has one opportunity to make a good first impression. Ensuring that technology complements the interaction instead of detracting is a critical consideration.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 1: “Welcome Customers as Guests In Your Home”

Chapter 2 – Give Me Your Full Attention (Control)

People want to feel they have control of their own destinies. Customers are more likely to purchase from a business where the associate or process gives them that control. One of best ways to provide the sense of control is to give the customer undivided attention. When you listen and pay attention it demonstrates that the customer is important and worthy of your respect. Customers always have an underlying emotion when asking a question or voicing a concern. They could be excited, frustrated, angry, disappointed; having another human being listen to and acknowledge that emotion helps develop a foundation to create a relationship. For example, when chatting with a company, allowing customers to self-select agents puts the customer in more control and helps to create initial relationships that are important to promote loyalty.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 2: “Listening: Giving the Customer Control”

Chapter 3 – Answer More Than My Question (Connect)

Once the customer has a feeling of control regarding the shopping experience, questions will arise. Questions are the sign of a fully engaged customer. This is an opportunity to either create or build upon a deeper relationship, one in which you, the associate, owner, etc. becomes the customers’ guide. You provide a source of direction that will help them solve a problem or obtain their wish that prompted the arrival at your business.

By answering more than the customer’s question, you can offer valuable guidance the customer can’t get anywhere else. People feel their situation is unique, which it is. When the associate or company can create a personalized and customized interaction, it is another critical, positive step in the customer journey. CRM systems can help customize the interaction and manage the relationship, but the CRM must be user friendly and contain the appropriate customer history.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 3: “Act Like a Tour Guide to Create Customer Relationships”

Chapter 4 – Know Your Stuff (Trust)

Customers want someone to help them who is knowledgeable about the company’s merchandise or details of their service. This does not happen often enough, in part because there is a high percentage of employee turnover. The consumer is presented with two problems.  The chances of finding an associate who is experienced is limited and if they do work with a knowledgeable employee the probability of that person either no longer on the same schedule or not employed at that business at all is high. The cost of employee turnover is rarely quantified or discussed and should be included in the ROI formula.  There are many missed opportunities for relationship building between the customer and the employee when staff is constantly changing.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 4: “Customer Experience without Competence is Doomed!”

Chapter 5 – Don’t Tell Me No (Frustration)

All virtues provided to your customers with the first four essentials – hope, control, direction and competence – go right out the window with the word “No.” There are many variations: “Can’t,” “Not allowed,” “Won’t.” All of them have the capacity to destroy customer goodwill.  Before you say no, won’t or can’t, think about an alternative reply. “Let me check on that and get back to you by a specific time and day or I’ll ask my manager and do some research on the Internet; maybe there is another business that carries what you want,” are all good responses. “NO” communicates that the customer’s loyalty journey is about to end and usually in a very abrupt and disruptive manner. Technology needs to be carefully employed not to add to customer frustrations.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 5: “NO” Damages the Customer Experience”

Chapter 6 – Invite Me to Return (Wanted)

It’s human nature to be wanted. If you meet someone for the first time and have a great conversation at lunch, dinner or coffee, the ultimate compliment is when either party says to the other, “ let’s do this again and let’s do it soon.” Asking someone to get together again is motivating. We are hot-wired, with mirror neurons, to respond positively to positive, friendly requests. When customers have a good transactional experience, and the associate sends a message to come again, the customer will do just that, return.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 6: “Do You Invite Your Customers to Return?”

Chapter 7 – Show Me I Matter (Care)

In order to develop true customer loyalty, the shopping experience must be more than just a transactional exchange. Gestures of acknowledgment are critical to remind customers they are valuable.

It is innate in human nature to be suspicious of someone who does not express interest after money has changed hands.  Extending beyond the transaction to express appreciation provides an opportunity for a true human connection. Pick any company that customers say they “love,” and you will find their customers know they matter. Customers will not want to pursue a “love affair” if communications suggest the company doesn’t care about you as a person.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 7: ”Caring for Customers After the Sale – the Missing Step in Creating Loyalty”

Chapter 8 – Surprise Me in Good Ways (Feel Special) 

Make the experience memorable. While it might be one of the more difficult goals to execute, customers crave attention and want that special feeling. There are many ways for a company to distinguish itself and show the customer he or she is important even after the sale. Surprises are not necessarily high budget items. Magic can happen in simple ways. Customer satisfaction is a minimal standard; true relationships are built around surprise and delight.

Blog post synopsis of Chapter 8: “Is it Possible to Make Customers Feel Special?”