My friend from England recently paid me a visit here in America and one evening she was craving steak. We ended up taking her to Texas Roadhouse, a steakhouse in our area. Once seated, we were asked if it was anyone’s first time dining there and we told our waitress that it was her first time at the restaurant. Shortly after taking our order, the manager arrived at our table with a generous sample of ribs to let the new customer (our friend) sample the ribs. My friend who is not a fan of ribs actually tried the ribs and loved them. At the end of the meal, the manager showed up again with a little bag of peanuts and a coupon for her next visit. Now, fast forward seven days to the evening before my friend was going to return to England and where did she want to have her last meal? That’s right, Texas Roadhouse. The steak was great, but what really made her want to return a week later?
A Self Help Book’s Marketing Power
My father has given me the same book at least three times throughout my life. It wasn’t until recent years that I actually opened it up and began to appreciate it and it sheds light on Texas Roadhouse’s victory. While the book is targeted towards individuals, most all of the principles can be related to marketing efforts. The book How To Win Friends and Influence People has opened my eyes. Chapter six is titled “How to Make People Like You Instantly.” Is there any new company that would not like this question answered for themselves? What I gathered from reading this book that might help you, is to make people (or dare I say potential or current customers) like you instantly.
The author, Dale Carnegie, believes there is one important law of all human conduct. According to him, if we obey this law we will never get into trouble and we will always have friends. However, if we break this law we will always get into trouble. The law is to “Always make the other person feel important.” People want recognition for their true worth. We don’t want meaningless flattery, we crave sincere appreciation for the things we’ve done. It’s that simple, you just have to always make the customer feel important.
It would be easy to toot the company horn about how amazing you are and hope that people will notice you from shear amazingness. However, unless the customer feels important, by human nature they will cling to the things that do make them feel important, even if it is your competition.
Obeying the Law: Using Social Media to Empower
Whether you are online, or face to face, everyone should be trying to make your customers feel important. Social media has made it easier than ever to help a customer feel important. Maybe your company deals face to face with customers and can offer contact to make them feel important, like our wonderful experience at Texas Roadhouse. This is great! But if you are a business that doesn’t have the opportunity to be face to face, there are other avenues to consider.
I would strongly suggest making an effort to reply to all mentions on Twitter, comments on Facebook and comments in the blogosphere. Anywhere they are talking about you, you should be talking back. This is a quick easy way to acknowledge customers, and let them know that they are heard. If someone says something nice about your company, favorite it, retweet it or reply to it. Let them know it was appreciated. Be sure they know that they are important. These actions begin to build a relationship and help your customer feel–that’s right–important. If someone complains about your company, message them back and try to resolve it before they’ve convinced friends to no longer use your company. These people want to feel important so make them feel important. The person once bashing your business online, can help it thrive by becoming a fan if he or she is taken care of and feels important.
So what really made my dear English friend want to return to the restaraunt? Without a doubt, I’d say it was that for the entire hour we sat there and enjoyed our meal, we felt important.
About the author
Courtney has always wanted to take over the world, but for now she is working on bettering the place with good design. Courtney is our visual problem solver and she loves a good typeface. Having studied design for some time in Switzerland—one of the most design savvy countries in the world—we’re glad she chose to work for PRMarketing.com. She’s full of inspiration and feeds off of the creative adrenaline she finds in traveling, new cultures, food and nature.