"Being Okay Can Kill a Business"If your business is just okay in the eyes of your customers or your intended audience, chances are you won’t be in business long. With all the choices today, why would a customer settle for “okay” when they can have GOOD, NO, make that GREAT experiences?

If you think that just because you don’t get many, or any complaints you are doing okay, think again. Apathy is rampant. Most people when they have an okay experience don’t tell anyone. Its when they have a really bad or really GREAT experience that they share it with others. And if its bad, hopefully they tell the business owner. If its GREAT, they tell their family, friends and colleagues. Complaints are opportunities for improvement. If customers aren’t complaining and they aren’t raving about your business either, chances are they are not returning. Its all about the Customer Experience.

Restaurants are a good example of this principle. Unless you live in a town with only a handful of restaurants, there is a high probability that if the food is mediocre and the service is just okay, you aren’t going back. Not with all the other choices you have. You know that for every okay restaurant there are at least the same number of great ones. Restaurants that offer an “experience” great food, seamless service are the ones that, by their very nature give the customer the promise that each time you return you can expect the same great experience. And if by chance you don’t, you are more likely to give the restaurant a second chance because you know first-hand what they are capable of delivering.

What are you willing to do to give your customers a great experience? Here are five tips to give your customers an experience they are willing to return for:

1. Don’t just sell to your customers. Care about them. Cavett Robert said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” You can show you care by asking their opinions. Ask what they want. What they need. Why they buy from you. People will tell you these things and more. And they will be loyal because you showed them that their opinion matters.

2. Practice little acts of gratitude. To most people, it’s the little things that matter. They can add up to bigger things. Little things like handwritten notes, personal phone calls, a little ethical bribe (small token gift to say thank you) all add up.

3. Think Small. Dan Kennedy says, “It is not enough for a business to be about something. It must also be FOR somebody. If it is for Everybody, it is of keen interest to Nobody.” I can think of very few exceptions to this statement. Walmart, maybe fast food will appeal to the masses. And yet they really are for Somebody. The somebody that wants to spend less on inexpensive products. Someone who wants to buy cheap, buy convenience. When I say “think small” I am referring to a niche. And the smaller the niche the better chance for success. If you can fill a need with a small group of people, one that no one else can do quite like your company, you stand a better chance of success than trying to appeal to the masses. Niches equal riches.

4. Stand for something bigger than you or your business. My good friend Bob Burg says, “People do business with people they know, like and trust.” When you stand for something bigger, worthy, something you care about, people notice. People trust you. That something bigger could be a local charity or non-profit. It could be the environment. They appreciate and are happy to support that. It’s one of the things that make an extraordinary business stand out from the ordinary.

5. Give customers an experience. People want to have FUN. We work too hard. We worry too much. When you give people an experience, you create a memory for them. Something they can recall when times are tough.

We are living in an experience economy. Customers are bored with the status quo. Bored with sameness. With ordinary. Customers want and are willing to pay a little (or a lot) more for that experience. Give it to them. Don’t settle for being an okay business. Only settle for GREAT!

Make giving your customers an experience they will remember a part of your business goals and you will build a sustainable business that will last the tests of time.