If you don’t get referrals, you haven’t earned them.” – Jim Cecil

There is no question that businesses that “wow” their customers grow quicker than firms that do not. But how do you wow your customers consistently? This is a question that should be top of mind for every business owner.

Many people believe you “wow” customers by exceeding expectations every time they come in contact with your firm. While I believe this to be true for the most part, and is an excellent goal, in reality I think it is somewhat simplistic and not entirely practical. For example how do you “wow” a customer when you are sending an invoice, or asking them about a late payment of a bill.

So many businesses fail even on handling base expectations. How often do we leave voice mails for suppliers that take days to be returned or send e-mails that never get responded to?

I believe that there are simple standards that you can hold everyone in your firm accountable for. For example, Adam has an electronics  business that requires his staff to work in people’s homes. He trains his staff to adhere strictly to four standards which few of his competitors adhere to. Almost all of his business comes from referrals and he believes these behaviours are at the root of this revenue.

The first is to show up on time. His work teams make appointments and work hard to leave early enough to show up at customer’s house at the appointed time. He believes this commitment to a specific time is rare in his business and it shows reliability, something also generally lacking in the world of contractors.

The second behaviour is to say please and thank you. While this seems trivial, Adam believes that this shows respect for the other party and builds rapport between worker and client. He also believes that good manners are rare these days and makes his people stand out.

He also insists that his workers do what they say they will. Not following through is grounds for dismissal. Doing what you say you will shows consistency, reliability and trustworthiness.

Finally his workers are never allowed to leave work unfinished. Even where installations take weeks there is communication with the client about progress and when the workers will be back.

Its no more complex than that, everyone knows the standards and agrees to adhere to them. It results in great communication between supplier and client, high levels of trust and satisfaction and the referrals come in almost daily.