How to Keep Customers Happy by Anticipating Their Needs

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” – Roger Staubach, Heisman Trophy winning, MVP football player

Despite many different business models, philosophies, approaches and structures, sometimes companies forget the purpose of their main job. It’s not providing a product or a service: It’s the hope that you’ll solve a problem and make the life easier for the person at the other end of the transaction.

And they are hard to find.

The other day, I found myself in yet another conversation with people – who, like me, have a passion for performance cars and race tracks – about the challenge of finding someone to do work on one of my cars. Someone who does good work and delivers great service.

I was given the name of someone who had been recommended by someone else, who had been recommended by someone else. So, I called him out and boy, am I thrilled!

Why? Because this independent shop owner is an absolute delight to deal with. He answers all my questions, keeps me in the loop, and even sends me pictures of his progress. He may or may not be the best guy (I don’t know because he hasn’t completed the work, yet) but his level of service is amazing.

This guy has shown me that he takes full ownership of my problem, so I don’t have to think about it. And, to me, that’s incredible value. Someone else may be better or cheaper, but he makes my life easier because he’s so proactive.

And, even though I don’t have the final bill, yet, I’ve already referred others to him.

Scaling Up the Customer Experience

As a small shop, he may be able to do this more easily. But as a business gets bigger, how do you maintain that level of service?

“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, we must improve.” – Horst Schulze, Ritz Carlton co-founder

Organizations like the Ritz-Carlton, that generally charge a premium for what they offer, invest a lot of time and energy with continual staff training to not only be responsive to their customers, but to proactively expect what the customer might need and to offer it before they are asked.

This isn’t rocket science. In an ideal world, the customer should never have to ask.

The Challenge

  • How good are you and your team at anticipating what your customers need – and being ahead of it?
  • How could you, and those who interact with your customers, be one step ahead of what your customers want or need?