Before you react negatively to the idea that a customer can be, or even ought to be, trained or controlled in any way, please read the post. I’m not suggesting you are the master and your customers are slaves, guinea pigs, idiots, or robots. In fact, just the opposite.
The thought that customers can be trained seems manipulative and condescending. Believe me, it’s not – if done respectfully and wisely by a smart business owner.
What I’m suggesting, in fact, is that you interact with your customers from day one in such a way that they learn quickly to completely trust you, to know that you have their best interests in mind at all times, and that whatever you offer will be a valuable gem for them in your niche. Saying so doesn’t really cut it. You earn your trust by setting expectations high and meeting them on every front. By nurturing your subscribers, you will be turning them into “warm responders” rather than cold but potential leads. No, this is not a new approach, it’s how successful online businesses have learned to operate in the anonymous virtual world.
Very simply, I’m going to give you the what, why, and how of training your customers. Here it is:
WHAT are you going to train your customers on?
– Your business is different from every other online business in the niche – it is unique, friendly, responsive, and authoritative
– Doing business with you is safe, secure, and protective of the individual and his privacy
– Your business pledges to always put the needs of the customer first
– Your business will consistently provide top value. If you can only give top value in one thing, then just do that one thing and be the very best at it – not just in products but in everything you do
– Whatever you sell will be useful and a great bargain for the price
WHY you need to train your customers.
You have chosen to do business online and simply by association, your business is going to be lumped with all other online businesses – not for the great things you offer – but for the bad and troubling flaws that many consumers now have experienced first hand with online shopping:
– impersonal web sites which treat visitors like herding cattle,
– shoddy and imperfect protection of personal information,
– “takes forever” customer service that would be better called customer abuse,
– crappy useless re-hashed products that fail to deliver the goods, and
– a never-ending stream of spammy emails solely purposed to extract money from the subscriber!
You need to train your customers that your business is different, that coming to your web site or reading your emails can actually be a pleasant and useful experience, and that whatever you offer in the way of content, interaction, and products or advice will be top shelf, first class, with value oozing from every pore.
Here’s the bottom line of “why”: Customers that know you, like you, have great experiences with you, and trust you will spend more money with you. Isn’t that why you’re in business? To make a profitable living?
HOW – Here are ten simple things you can do to “train” your prospects and customers.
– Tell them what to expect from you and your business (set the standard high; commit to excellence and follow through).
– Give them the VIP treatment before they buy from you and every time you interact – don’t give in to the erroneous idea that more customers are always better – nurture and grow your customer base one happy fan at a time.
– Keep up contact – not with generic pleasantries – but with meaningful interactions and personalization whenever possible.
– Find out something unique about every customer – the mere action of asking is like extending a personal welcome, smile, and handshake.
– Ask for niche involvement, articles from customers, tips, helpful experiences, photos, share their biggest hurdles, acknowledge their successes in the niche.
– Treat them with respect and dignity, yes, even newbies – it’s not expert vs. wannabe or business vs. client.
– Constantly give value – expect to give more than you ever get from the individual in return. Give first and prove your business.
– Give something extra with every purchase (not including the bonuses you advertise). A happily surprised customer is a return customer and a billboard for your business. Make it meaningful and pertinent to the niche.
– Ask for personal input on your web site, your products, services, and ideas or suggestions that may not be a part of your current business.
– Acknowledge each person in some way (some call it “stroking” but I don’t like that term). Recognize the contributions and efforts of your customers by name. Get personal; get attached and connected; throw off the notion that online business is faceless and anonymous.
You now understand the intent of this training: to offer, entice, instruct, and educate the customer about your business . . . that it’s different . . . that your business is the only logical choice in the niche.
You can say those words all day long and it means nothing; but you can train your customers to believe and know it’s true if you consistently prove it through your business actions.
To your online business success!