Every successful entrepreneur understands the importance of excellent customer service. This is one of the crucial determinants of success or failure of any business. Let’s face it. You cannot operate or manage your business if you don’t have customers. You are in business to serve your customers.
Customer service isn’t just about being courteous to your customers – it’s a vital element of business operations that can impact your bottom line and affect how your company is viewed in the public eye. Several high-profile companies have been in the news of late, finding themselves in the spotlight because of poor customer service policies. The good news is, it’s relatively simple to implement a customer service improvement plan that keeps your business on top.
Customers won’t buy or refer their loved ones to your business if you don’t take your time to nurture these relationships. Research shows that a referral is easier to sell to and keep than a cold call. If you treat your customers right, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.
However, winning your customers’ hearts and loyalty does not happen overnight. It requires consistent and ongoing effort to retain customers. Pricing is an important factor in attracting and retaining customers however, you should not rely on it fully. As the popular saying goes, people buy people. You’ll only retain customers in the long run if you deliver your promises and resolve issues quickly.
Customer relationships are fragile. The majority of customers will understand an occasional mistake or issue that is handled quickly and effectively. But they won’t tolerate rudeness, neglect, inconsistency in the quality of your products or services and failure to deliver promises. This is extremely important if you have other competitors that are hungry for success.
Consistency is the foundation of all customer relationships. Customers want to be confident that your products or services will deliver your promises every time out; not occasionally. Walking your talk and under-promising and over-delivering will make it possible for your organization to reach extraordinary heights.
The foundation of consistency
Every big company was once a small company. Take a company like McDonald’s or Starbucks. They started small and grew over time to become what they are today. Their growth was mainly determined by their consistency in terms of product quality and services delivered.
The majority of consumers choose to buy from them instead of an upcoming competitor because their brand has built a reputation for consistency. With all the success tips and books available in the world today, it’s rare to find a great product coupled with a great service.
How many times have you been persuaded by salespeople or marketing professionals with a remarkable product or services only to sign up and get a different experience? A customer buys a faulty product or service and it takes days to reach the support department. And that’s if they’ll respond.
Can you imagine how the customer feels about such a company? What are the chances that he or she is going to buy again or refer someone?
Clearly, for anyone who is serious about “making it,” so to speak, it’s imperative to realize the utter importance of rock-solid customer service. It’s not just about the customer always being right. It’s about treating your customers like you’d treat your family. And that doesn’t happen by talking down to them or looking for any possible way to extract more money from them. It happens by truly going out of your way for them and adding enormous amounts of value to the equation.
Today, if you’re delivering sincere value to your customers, you’re all-but guaranteeing your own success rather than sealing your fate in a coffin of corporate greed and advancement at all costs. In fact, it’s the very foundational understanding that a business must deliver value in order to transform the good to the great. That’s what creates icons in the world of business. And it all starts by having the consumer’s best interest at heart.
Amazon, Zappos, Apple and other corporate bellwethers, all harbored the bedrock understanding that it’s the customer above all else. That’s how they grew into the behemoths that they are.
Saying what the customer wants to hear
Some people will say anything to get the customer to buy. Including what the product or service won’t deliver. When a customer decides to buy from you and he or she discovers that you overpromised and under-delivered, what do you think will happen?
These are the kind of experiences that your customers will share with their loved ones and colleagues to stop them from buying from you. You have to be honest to build your reputation and succeed in business.
With these facts or basics in mind, let’s discuss the five proven ways to develop and build strong customer relationships.
- Put client’s needs first
Just like any other type of relationship, communication is an essential ingredient of building customer relationships. To promote your business, you have to listen to your customers. Instead of telling your customers about your products and services all the time, hold conversations with them. Find out their wants and needs and then show them how your product or service will solve their problems.
If you have employees, show them how to communicate with customers effectively. Instead of waiting until a problem occurs, develop and improve your team’s communication skills with customers. Create an employee policy that requires timely follow-up to ensure that the needs of your customers are met. Ensure that your staff returns emails, phone calls or messages promptly.
- Ask for feedback
Customers will always make their feelings known after dealing with you. Therefore, it is important to invite feedback from your customers to show them that you are listening. Consider conducting a survey and encouraging your customers to leave comments and queries.
Customer feedback enables you to know the needs of your customers and whether you are meeting them or not. Creating and offering products or services that meet their needs will greatly improve the chances of your business growing.
Listen attentively to your customers’ comments and respond quickly. The last thing you want to happen ask for feedback and fail to address them. Don’t get angry or frustrated when customers leave negative feedback. They are simply telling you exactly what you need to do to grow your business.
- Appreciate them
One of the best ways to build strong customer relationships is rewarding customers who buy from you consistently with a loyalty discount program. You can develop a loyalty program app or hand out loyalty cards to track your customers’ rewards.
Through a loyalty program, your customers will earn points every time they visit website often, leave a review or refer a friend. When they exceed a specified number of points, they get rewarded with discounts or free products or services.
You should also consider giving away cheap branded items such as notepads, pens, hats, shirts or jackets with the logo of your company on them. It’s a small but effective way to thank your customers for buying from you. Customers will continue to buy and refer their loved ones and colleagues so long as they feel happy, recognized and appreciated.
- Create a magical experience for your customers
No one enjoys queuing and waiting for hours to buy a product or service especially in our digital world that promises fast deliveries and advanced solutions. Therefore, it is unacceptable and unprofessional to keep your customers waiting. Today, there are a variety of effective solutions that you can implement in your business to reduce waiting time.
If customers flock into your business at a specific time of the year, it’s important to prepare yourself early enough to handle the situation in a professional way. You can communicate and lead them every step of the way, estimate their waiting time and speed up conversations using quick replies or canned responses.
If your customers discover that your competitors have a new better solution that reduces waiting time, they will stop buying from you. As the saying goes, time is money. And lost time can never be recovered.
- Stay positive during the interaction
All successful leaders know that the success or failure of the customer care department depends on their team members’ attitudes. In the customer care department, you are going to encounter a lot of people. These people should inspire you to achieve your goals and objectives. Therefore, it’s important to be positive and motivated to help them solve their problems.
You are going to meet customers who are negative most of the time. What should you do? The last thing you want to happen is getting sucked into their reality or blaming, criticizing and complaining. Don’t take things personally. According to research, it’s your ability to solve problems that actually matters; not focusing on the problem.
Instead of allowing yourself to get sucked, set a positive state of mind through:
- Positive language – Use affirmative words such as surely, excellent or great. When you have a dissatisfied customer, use empathy statements such as ‘let me look into it’ or ‘let me correct that right away’. When you make your customers relaxed and happy, you’ll have an easy time in the long run.
- Smile – Smiling makes us happy and motivated to achieve our goals and objectives. When customers get into your office, greet them and smile. Nothing makes a customer relaxed and confident than a person who radiates warmth and is ready to help.
Most importantly, you need to be self-confident. Customers describe managers or employees with high self-confidence as ‘nice’. Self-confidence is a huge determinant of your success or failure. As the saying goes, you cannot give what you don’t have. Your customers cannot be confident around you if you are not confident. It’s important to hire employees with high self-confidence.
Employees with low self-confidence will drive away your customers. These are the angry, jealous, sarcastic, fearful and envious employees. It’s better to hire a positive underqualified employee than a negative overqualified employee.
Customer relationships are built over time. Everything worthwhile takes time. However, similar to your reputation, it takes a few minutes to destroy a great customer relationship. To avoid this, we have discussed 5 proven tips that will help you retain your customers and get more referrals.
Remember, every customer has 150 people who he or she can refer to your business at any one time. By treating your customers in the manner, you are going to grow and achieve your goals easily and quickly. Finally, be on the lookout for new technologies and trends that will save your customers’ time and money.
Justin Osborne is an essay writer, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at uk.bestessays.com.