If your business were a cartoon character, who would it be?
Tradewinds Learning would be Sebastian from The Little Mermaid. Like Sebastian, we’re problem solvers. We help people who need guidance to find their voice. We love the ocean and we’ll even put on a bit of a show if we think it will accomplish our big goal.
But here is why I want you to think about this question, cartoon characters have strong personalities. And your business should, too. What makes your business unique? How is your approach different than your competition? What is the personality of your business? Know it and own it. What makes your business standout is why your customers will choose to do business with you. They come to you for that personality and will return because they of it. The authenticity of your approach is what will build loyalty among your customers. They will return to you time and again because they like the way you offer your service or deliver your product.
Come join the family
I love shopping at small businesses because I get to know the owners and the people who work there. I feel like a true part of their community. I love when they recognize me when I walk in the door. I don’t get that same feeling when I walk into a big box store or a chain restaurant. What I want you to think about is not the greeting, but the goodbye.
What do you say to your customer when they’re leaving? Your goodbye has to be more than that, it also needs to be an invitation to return. Every customer should be invited into the next step of their relationship with your business. Think of a time in your life when you did something or went somewhere because someone invited you to do it. An invitation is a powerful thing. It lets us know we are wanted. You want to let your customers know you want them to come back, you want to continue the relationship with them.
This is the final step in my WINDI customer service framework. The last I is for Invite. It is a call to go beyond just a thank you. Set your business apart by providing this personal touch. Invite the customers to return for another visit. Invite them to join your community online. Let them know you are already looking forward to continuing the relationship. This invitation shows that you are as loyal to them as you hope they will be to you.
Hire your customers
One of the most important decisions you will make in business is deciding who to hire. Your employees are your brand, vision, and mission come to life. You have to hire people who truly believe in what you do and why you do it. If the job is just a paycheck for them, they will not be invested to bring that brand to life. Of course, training your employees successfully is also really important. (And you know I can help with that.) But what you have to do first, is get the right people on the payroll. In the interviewing process you should ask why they want to work for you. The answer has to touch on something specific to you and your business. If they give you a generic answer, that tells you they just want a job, any job.
One of the best places you can look for employees is actually in your customers. Someone who already knows you, knows your brand, and likes what you offer has the potential to be a great employee. This is why I worked in the slide library of the Art History department when I was in college. (Do art history departments even have slides anymore or is everything digital now?)
A little different setting than a small business, but it showcases my point. I had already taken several classes, I had decided to major in Art History and I knew my way around the space. I knew what the job was about and I connected with the department before I even applied for the job. It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to apply for a job in the biology department. I had no connection to that department and knew nothing about what they did.
Hire the person who knows your business and believes in your business. If they are your customer, they will already have a relationship with you. You will know they can connect with other customers and continue to build that loyal customer base. You will build a ripple effect, the happy employee who loves what you do will provide a great experience for the customer, who will in turn love what you do and become a loyal fan of your business.
Establishing a loyal customer base is an important part of your success. I want you to start by answering my first question; who is your cartoon? Leave me a comment below! I can’t wait to read your response.