5 Lessons a Cobbler Taught Me about Customer Satisfaction

    By Lanre Solarin | Small Business

    Customers have the power to destroy any business.

    And yours is not an exception. Even though you may be all big and mighty with all the customers an entrepreneur can ever think of, one wrong 5 Lessons a Cobbler Taught Me about Customer Satisfaction image Customer Satisfaction 300x225Customer Satisfactionstep can bring you back down to ground zero. And no one wants that!

    After wasting 2 hours looking for a cobbler who could mend my Italian shoe, I stormed home in rage. While on the sidewalk, I heard a male voice screaming out and footsteps coming in my direction. “Excuse me sir!” he kept saying. Before I knew what happened, I felt a hand on me, drawing me back.  With the initial rage in me, I swiftly turned around to face him.

    With his eyes fixed on the shoes in my hand, he said, “do you need those shoes fixed? I specialize in mending Italian shoes.” While still burning up, I reluctantly followed him. One hour later, I left his shop smiling, and he went home richer….much richer!

    A customer, after doing business with you, can either leave smiling or angry. And you can either go home richer or bankrupt. So, here are 5 things about customer satisfaction you can learn from the cobbler.

    1. Make Them Know That You’re Aware of Their Problems

    One marketing rule that many people neglect is, “Go where your customers are and then give them a reason to come to you.” It is important to note that your potential customers don’t have the slightest idea about who you are or how you can help them. This means that you first need to let them know. But how do you effectively do this?

    As the cobbler did, you must “fix your eyes on their problem, make them realize that it’s a problem and then offer a solution, which in this case is your service.” As marketing expert, Dov Gordon states, “You help them solve a problem they have and don’t want, or give them a solution they want and don’t have.”

    Take action: Go to where your audience hang out (i.e. blogs, social networks and forums). Attract them to you by focusing on what they want and make them realize that you can help. You can do this through creating compelling content, video tutorials or webinars that boost your credibility and problem solving abilities.

    2. Make Them Feel Comfortable While Doing Business with You

    After following the cobbler to his shop, he didn’t just collect the shoes from me to start working. Instead, he cleaned a chair for me to sit and carefully placed a huge umbrella over my head to shield me from the scorching sun. It seemed the sun had a score to settle with earth that day. So, how do you apply this?

    Create an atmosphere of safety and comfortability for your customers, even before you start solving their problems. This shows them that you care about them personally and not just how much you can make from them. When you do this, you’ll loosen them up to you and let their guard down.

    Take action: If you realize that customers are reluctant to do business with you because of their fear of no return on investment, give them a money back guarantee. Satisfy an immediate need with something of low cost to you. But ensure you do all this before you even start solving their problems.

    3. Boost Their Ego to Make Them Feel Important

    The cobbler never stopped commenting on how “one-of-a-kind” my shoes were. He showed me the other jobs he had pending but let me know that I was a priority because he realized I was in a hurry. He kept telling me of how long I would enjoy the shoes once he was through with them. And I, as a typical customer, never stopped making impatient gestures, telling him to hurry up with my shoes. I really didn’t want him to get into my head. He eventually did anyway! How do you make your customers feel more important than they really are?

    Make them feel like they’re your only clients, even when they know they’re not. Feed their emotions by letting them know just how much you value them. They’ll definitely place their guards up because not every customer wants to be wooed by sweet talk. However, this is none of your business- just do your part in exalting them.

    Take action: Ensure you connect the problem at hand to the customers’ emotions. If you’re an insurance personnel, comment on the car they want to insure and let them see how good and safe it would feel to drive a car for several months that’s backed up by insurance. Create an image in their minds, with them in it.

    4. Be Different By Showing Your Expertise

    On the same line were 3 other shops with cobblers who specialized in Italian shoes. They all used the same equipments and could’ve given the same kind of service. But the cobbler did something that surprised me. Being that the shoe needed some glue, he brought two samples of the same kind of glue to me. But then, he differentiated the original from the fake- a difference that I would never have noticed.

    It’s easy to provide low quality service that appears as quality to clients because to us, they can’t know the difference. Prove that you’re really an expert at what you do. Show your customer something small that’s having a huge negative effect on their business and how they can recognize or fix it on their own.

    You may think that this would not make them come back to you. But the truth is since they know you can relieve them of the stress of implementation, they’ll definitely come back.

    Take action: Show them something that can make them more money, save them money or give them some form of relief. Whenever they do business in future and they recognize that little negligible thing you showed them, they’ll always remember you for it. Little things count!

    5. Make Them Profit to Keep Them Smiling

    Depending on the kind of business, results are measured in different ways. When the cobbler finally completed the mending of the shoes, my fee was only a fraction of the value of service he rendered. And we both knew it. Being that I loved the shoes, having them on my feet again was satisfactory. It was clear that he wasn’t entirely interested in the amount, but in the profitable experience he wanted me to have.

    Take action: Make your customers experience instant profit in some way- it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the immediate cash they get back. It could be a free discount code for buying groceries from the mall, or a free referral to a client of yours who would boost their business. It could also be a free template to help them create their next smashing presentation using the skills you taught them (and that they paid for of course).

    Before departure, I gave him some marketing advice which I felt he needed. And to his surprise, I paid him much higher than the negotiated amount- I paid in full! That was my way of showing him my appreciation for his service.

    Always see customer satisfaction as a priority, especially when they’re willing to pay you what you’re worth. It may not mean so much to them now, but when they encounter someone else in the same field that doesn’t satisfy them the way you do, they could pay double to have more of you….in a professional way of course.

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