Hooking customers

Columns - Business Minds

It’s all about offering product and service consistency.

February 25, 2014

John Kennedy

As I travel the globe and work with many companies, countries, associations, and green businesses, one word keeps coming to mind when it comes to providing world-class service—that word is “addicted.” In fact, it has become such a part of my presentations, consulting, and strategic planning that I am now writing my next book based on the premise.

How do you get your clients, your customers, and your revenue-generating streams addicted to you? How do you create customer addiction? One word comes to mind—consistency. Do you offer a product or service that is so consistent that your customers become addicted to it?

Friend to bovines and birthday innovator

Let me tell you about a company and a product to which my family is addicted. In the Mid-Atlantic region, there is a fast-food joint that just opened in Eldersburg, Md. They have such a following that they offered one year of free dinners for the first 100 customers to enter its doors on the grand opening. So, on a cold October night last year, roughly 100 people camped out with tents, sleeping bags, hot chocolate (and possibly something stronger) to earn the right to have 52 free dinners in 2014. What fast food would be worth doing that? That company is Chick-Fil-A, and its fan base is addicted to them.

Another example is Southwest Airlines. Its fan base is so loyal that the airline has remained profitable through the aftermath of 9-11, as well as the economic downturn of the last five years. On a recent SWA flight, a flight attendant announced it was a special person’s birthday and invited all of the passengers to sing "Happy Birthday." She asked everyone to push their flight attendant buttons (for lighting) as they dimmed the cabin. Then she took a roll of toilet paper (for the cake), some coffee stirrers (candles), and a few bags of peanuts, and created a mini birthday cake. As she began singing, all 125 passengers joined in at 35,000 feet.

It was goofy, sophomoric, and totally awesome! That passenger’s day was made by a thoughtful flight attendant who works for a thoughtful company.

Your turn

How much thought have you put into your business and the way your clients think of you? Actually, what do you think your clients think of you, your team, your product, and your business? These are the great questions we should be asking as we move into 2014 and beyond.

I provide a service to my clients that includes a third-party survey to ask how the organization is not only exceeding expectations, but how are they uniquely different from anyone else out there providing a similar service. If you are not unique or different or innovative in the way you do business, there is no separation and therefore no addiction.

Even the simple act of calling every week at a very specific time to update availability and “what looks awesome!” is something worth becoming addicted to.

I have a great re-wholesaler I work with in Monkton, Md. that is now in the process of offering that exact service addiction. I have a wonderful grower client in Zeeland, Mich., that is creating a culture that will deliver, with a level of consistency second to none, a product and service that is addictive.

So what are you doing to get your customers addicted? Let me know with an email at john@ishakeitup.com and I will put your business in my new book. I’ll return next quarter to discuss the leadership necessary to create the addictive team.

John Kennedy is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and strategist. He applies new insights in self-skills and personal development to deliver companies to the next level of success. His presentations focus on customer service, sales, leadership development and teamwork.You can write John at john@ishakeitup.com.