We all want to move ahead in business, to grow, to be profitable, to create a solid foundation for the future and what is the key to that? Customers, happy satisfied customers who come back, time and time again, and tell their friends and family about their experiences of a business’ products and services.

There’s lots of fancy marketing speak words to describe the ways a business can satisfy their customers and one that I like, is engagement. Human beings thrive on being treated in particular ways – we like attention and we like to feel that our needs are met and our expectations are fulfilled. Engaging customers ensures they will become future advocates for any business and engagement is not that difficult.

Providing top quality products and services is just part of the equation. Engagement means paying attention, listening, advising, and making a customer feel as if they are not just an amount of dollars to bolster the bottom line. Actively engaging a customer means providing them with an experience that not only benefits their desires, but a business’ as well.

I have often heard from customers who say that the things they valued the most from an experience with a business was the little things that elevated everything to a level they did not imagine at the outset. Little things are important because they all add up, and again, they are not that difficult to do.

Expert advice given honestly and simply. The reason we engage others to do work for us is because we cannot do it ourselves. When we commission someone to do something for us we expect them to have knowledge befitting that task or project, but we want to understand it ourselves as well. Taking the time to communicate the possibilities and actualities of a request in an easily understood way engages the customer in the project and includes them in all of the decisions that will be made along the way.

Nobody likes asking for something to be done and then feeling as if they do not have a clue about the process. In many negative online reviews this is one of the dominant themes – that the consumer felt as if they were dealt with in a patronising and dishonest manner. That the end result was not what they had asked for and felt that they were never included in the process. Ensuring that the customer is always consulted and an active decision maker in the project is just so simple, and creates a far better experience for them.

Friendliness and courtesy. That sounds obvious, right? But it’s surprising how many service providers fail at this. It’s paramount to remember that at all times, a contractor or a service provider is a guest, a visitor, in a home or property while they are conducting work. Surliness and any form of aggression is a complete red flag and a turnoff. It’s in no way difficult to be courteous and respectful, to understand that people are generally wary of strangers in their homes. Friendliness sets people at ease and breaks down that initial barrier – it is the ideal way to engage with another human being and sets the right tone from the beginning.

Engagement is a sure fire way of establishing a healthy and growing customer base. Happy customers will write glowing reviews of their experiences – increasing word of mouth – resulting in new customers seeking out a business’ services. Considering the small amount of time and effort required, it should be seen as a vital element of every business’ interaction with customers