By Katie Torres
Experience is what people are looking for.
To be honest, you could serve a sandwich that tastes homemade. But if you provided the right experience, you'd still attract customers (though, above average sandwiches are always great, too).
Knowing what your customers look for is the first step to understanding how to create an experience that they will remember, and hopefully, wish to return to.
What do you look for when you go out to dinner? What does the ideal environment look like? What kind of service do you expect to receive?
Your answers to these questions are likely to be similar to your customers' answers, if they were to be asked the same questions.
When you finally put these ideas into action, pay attention to how your customers respond. Don't stress if someone has a negative reaction.
Instead, take their critique and use it to make the experience even better for them the next time around.
They'll enjoy the changes made, and they'll also take note of the fact that you listened when they had something to say.
This is how you keep customers.
Take the platform your business provides and use it to help others. If you have tried something that works great for you, share that tip with others in your industry.
This might seem counter intuitive, at first. Many people would say that giving up your secrets gives other businesses the upper hand.
But when you are helpful to others in this way, it attracts people from both the community and from other businesses.
You share information, and you network. You build partnerships that benefit everyone involved.
This also opens the door for others to give you advice and feedback which could help your own company grow.
And finally, share the passion you have for the "fun" parts of your job with the areas that seem more mundane.
Do tasks like record keeping and, *ahem*, facilities maintenance sound like a bore to you?
Though these things may not be the most glamorous parts of your job, they are essential to creating the experience your customers are looking for.
To have the right environment, you must pay attention to both the big details and the "little" ones.
Just using our two examples from above, we can see how important this is.
You have to stay organized and keep proper notes of what's happening, otherwise you will lack direction and the ability to plan.
Taking care of your facility is essential to create the environment where people want to be. This is how you directly affect the experience customers have, immediately upon walking through your doors.
Take the time necessary to do these things, and to do them well. Don't just provide your customers with a service; give them an experience they will remember.