Loving Your Customers Is Good Business
By: Sandi Krakowski
Loving your customers is about service, not sales. Like most people, I hate to be sold to, but if you serve me better than the shop down the street does, I’m coming back to see you again and again. I’ll even pay more for the same product because you make me feel valued. Loved, even.
Here’s an example. I recently bought two cars from the same local car dealership, two months apart. The first purchase was like doing business with a longtime friend. The staff welcomed us, and everybody made sure we were taken care of. The salesman queried us about our needs and preferences, explained features and options we weren’t aware of, and answered our questions. We felt like our purchase was the most important one of the day. And at no point did we feel pressured. When it came time to buy another car, the decision about where to buy was easy!
Want your customers to start loving you? Here are six ways to go about it.
All employees who have phone time with your customers must be happy, or they have to be removed. A smile can be “felt and heard” even through e-mail or phone lines. Ask your employees to look in a mirror to see how they look when they are on the phone speaking to customers.
Ask your clients what they want
Then give it to them, if it’s in your power to do so. Marketing becomes easy when you care enough to ask how you can serve people. Do surveys, hold contests, simply ask and pay very close attention to the responses you receive.
If someone wants their money back, return it cheerfully
Then ask if you can do anything else to make it right. One refund done well could produce 10 or more positive referrals. How many times have you been disappointed with a product, but happy with the customer service you received when you sought a return or refund? If you make it easy for unhappy customers to be satisfied, chances are, they’ll be back.
Take customer loyalty seriously
Give bonuses, offer free shipping and do unexpected “nice” things. When a client says they are in a hurry, offer them upgraded shipping at no cost. Add a personalized card, follow up on purchases, and make your customers feel special. Closeness matters, especially in the digital marketplace.
Thank your customers for their business
Make sure they know that you value their business. Don’t take it for granted. Train your staff to always thank your customers for doing business with you.
Build community with your clients
Make them feel as though they have joined a family that cares enough to give them excellent service. Keep them involved with your business, and your business “top of mind” with e-mail messages, postcards and announcements, all as a way of saying, “we appreciate you.”
One of the biggest paybacks of loving your customer is how it affects your team as a whole, your company mission and how it sets you apart in a marketplace where far too many firms focus only on the sale and not on the happiness of the consumer.
Love your customers. It makes all the difference in the world.