Top tips to help you provide the kind of excellent service that your customers truly deserve.
Businesses spend a lot of time and money on advertising to attract new customers. While this is important for the growth of the business, I feel the value of returning customers is often overlooked. Loyal customers are critical to the success of any business and it is by providing them with excellent customer service that they will remain loyal.
Here are my top tips to help you give your customers the kind of service they truly deserve.
1. Anticipate the needs of the customer. Use knowledge about the customer and the products that they have purchased in the past to predict future needs. These needs might be unusual or recurring, either way getting to know your customers shows them that they have not been forgotten and you have their best interests in mind.
2. Greet customers with a smile. If you operate a bricks and motor company, this can be done with a warm and friendly greeting as soon as they enter your premises. Even if you are dealing with customers over the phone, it’s thought that a warm smile can be sensed.
3. Make time for the customer. In a busy environment it can be frustrating for an employee if a customer wants to stop and chat when they have a lot of work to get done. However, the customer will be able to tell if the employees heart is not in the conversation, so always make the customer top priority.
4. Make customers feel important. This can be achieved through little details such as addressing them by their name or making them feel genuinely welcome when they do business with you. If customers feel valued and appreciated by a business then they are more likely to return and make more purchases.
5. Apologize when things go wrong. No business is perfect all of the time and mistakes may be made. Often it is the way that the business deals with this mistake rather than the mistake itself that will determine whether the customer returns to the business. As soon as it is realized that a mistake has been made, the business should admit the mistake, apologize sincerely and do everything in their power to rectify the mistake.
6. Give customers more than they expect. Customers are more likely to feel loyalty towards a company that have exceeded their expectations, both in terms of customer service and the products that they have purchased. Everybody likes to be surprised now and then!
7. Ask customers for feedback. A business may think that it is performing well in terms of customer service but they can never really be sure until they ask their customers what they think. After this information has been gathered it should be acted on to fix specific issues and improve areas that are identified as having weaknesses. Take time to thank customers for their help and reward them accordingly.
8. Treat employees well. In most cases it will be the employees of a business who have the most face to face contact with the customers. The better they are treated, the happier they will be while at work and this will be evident in the way that they deal with customers. The atmosphere that is created by a good working environment will be more pleasant for customers too.
9. Be truthful about the products that are being sold. If a customer asks advice about a product then the advice that is given should be honest. If a customer is mislead in order to make a sale then they will not appreciate it when they find the product doesn’t work as expected and probably won’t return.
10. Bend the rules if needed. If a regular customer makes a special request that would not normally be part of the business policy then this request should be given consideration rather than the customer being told no. Customers will appreciate that you have empowered your employees with common sense and the ability to see the “big picture”.
About the Author
Ian Miller is Editor of Customer Service Manager Magazine – the leading resource and community for customer service professionals.