Parallels Summit 2012: Customer enchantment equals business success

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Businesses striving to keep customers happy and loyal need to ensure they are liked, trusted and produce quality products and services.

While this may seem like stating the obvious, these three facets are the key to so-called customer enchantment and will ensure continued success in the business world, according to Guy Kawasaki.

The former Apple evangelist and current author and co-founder of kicked off the Parallels Summit event in Orlando this week with a keynote speech that promised to share the secrets of his success.

Amazon trusts you not to abuse the system. Because Amazon trusts people, people have come to trust Amazon.

Recalling a time when Richard Branson tried to convince him to fly with Virgin, Kawasaki said he explained he was a top tier customer with United and received such great service and perks he couldn't possibly fly with anyone else. With that, Branson knelt down and started shining Kawasaki's shoes with his jacket. It did the trick and Kawasaki now flies with Branson's airline.

"The first thing you need to do to achieve the state of enchantment with customers is be likeable. I think Richard Branson personifies likeability," Kawasaki said.

In order to be liked, you have to like others, Kawasaki advised, adding that a default yes' attitude is key as is thinking what you can do for others rather than the other way around.

"You can be likeable but not trustworthy. You could like a Hollywood celebrity but not trust them. You could, for example, like Charlie Sheen but not trust Charlie Sheen. So the next step is to achieve trustworthiness," he added.

Again, in order to be trusted, businesses must first trust.

"Amazon is an example. Did you know you can buy a book and you have one week to return it for a full credit, no questions asked? Many of us could read a book in a week. Amazon trusts you not to abuse the system. Because Amazon trusts people, people have come to trust Amazon," Kawasaki said.

"If you want to be trusted you have to be a baker not an eater... A baker sees the world very differently Bakers are more trustworthy than eaters."

Once likeability and trustworthiness are present, companies must ensure they have a great product with which to grab customers' attention.

Such products must be deep, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant, according to Kawasaki. That is, they must offer rich features and functionality, understand the customer's needs and problems, offer a total solution and empower rather than baffle or hinder users.

"I have tried to enchant people with great stuff and I have tried to enchant people with crap," he said. "Let me tell you it is much easier with great stuff.

But it doesn't end there, Kawasaki cautioned. Once customers are enchanted, businesses must keep them that way through targeted marketing and continued engagement.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.