Eight Ways to Let Customers 'Have It Their Way'

Back in 1973 the economy (and the country) was facing an economic crisis much like it is today. One company that was able to use this to their advantage was Burger King. They read their customer base and saw an opportunity to separate themselves from the pack by telling customers "Have it your way!" And they did.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Drew Gerber, CEO of Blue Kangeroo and creator of PitchRate.com, says "Burger King knew that in a tough economy frustrations were high and if you could give your customer just what they wanted&#x2014;instead of what you wanted them to have&#x2014;they'd keep coming back for more. With all the choices available today this personal touch is even more important now than ever."<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> If your business model was developed during a "high" or a "boon" in your market, you may need to rethink your strategy, he adds. <br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> Following are eight tips businesses can employ to let customers "have it their way."<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>1. Reconnect with old friends and clients.</b> Find out how you can make a difference to what they are up to? Some great ideas can come from listening to what sorts of problems people already in your network are facing. Offering solutions is the shortest road to success.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>2. Have it your way and hit the highway.</b> With airline prices the lowest they've been in years, it is cheaper than ever to have a face to face, which can make all the difference in this impersonal Internet world.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>3. Ask not what your customers can do for you, ask what you can do for you customers. </b>Never underestimate the power of directly asking "How are we doing? What are some areas you see where can improve?" You might be surprised at the answers!<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>4. Be creative.</b> Let your personality shine through. If you can find solutions and ideas that are fun and interesting to you, your customers will see it too.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>5. Go above and beyond the call of duty.</b> It is those little extras that don't cost you much, but have the potential to make all difference. Take a few extra minutes to shine.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>6. Surprise!</b> Take a chance and don't be afraid to follow your instincts down the road less traveled.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>7. Shut up and listen. </b>Listen to all of it the good, the bad and the ugly. Often times your customers have insights and answers they aren't aware of. Being a good listener helps you ask the right questions and get to the heart of the matter.<br clear="none" /> <br clear="none" /> <b>8. Acknowledgment.</b> Make sure your customers know that you're not only listening, but that you're hearing them. Point out solutions or successes that have come directly from customer