True believers only, please


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One of the challenges of any industry is to maintain a level of consistency that customers have come to expect, but at the same time find ways to introduce new products and services without compromising successful business practices. This keeps items fresh and updated, but still allows for mainstay profitability, as well.

While that in itself would make a great topic for discussion, I encountered something else in a recent visit to one of these fine institutions we know as fast food restaurants. When I walked in to this restaurant, I was greeted by lots of marketing pictures, cardboard cutouts and ceiling hangers, all exclaiming the wonderful new menu item that had recently been introduced. As I stood there pondering my options, I thought about the new dish, but opted instead to go with a tried-and-true favorite, and thought I might try the new item at a future date.

As I sat waiting for my order to be prepared, another couple came in and reacted a little differently to the same information that I had encountered. Wanting to find out more about the new menu item, they walked up to the cashier and asked what it was, how it was put together, and if there were any special ingredients. This cashier surprised me. It wasn’t the usual (or expected): “Ummm…I’m not really sure,” or “I’m new here,” or “I’ll have to check with my supervisor;” no, the cashier instead launched into one of the most mouth-watering descriptions of this new food item. She talked about the seasonings used, the time it takes to saute the vegetables, and most importantly, she talked about how much she personally liked them. After hearing all of this, I was practically ready to cancel my previous order and order that instead!

This little encounter demonstrated two things to me: the power of good, descriptive communication, and the power or personal testimony, of someone with impassioned intent, who really believes in the product or service, to sway the decision of a customer or bystander.

The application is found in not relying on just your marketing “system” when it comes to convincing your customers of why your products or services are the best, or why they should do business with you. Some really great marketing can get people in the door, but then it is up to your front line personnel to make that marketing real. Customers need to be convinced you are trustworthy, and they can only be convinced by those who are convinced themselves!

Be sure you have employees who “get it” and can be passionate ambassadors of your products and services. This will help to increase customer satisfaction over the longer term, and will encourage repeat business. These employees represent your company to your customers, so be sure they have all of the resources and training they need; and be doubly sure they have an attitude that excites customers.

Just for fun…

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.” – Anon.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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