Providing outstanding customer service is the lifeblood of any successful business. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how many promotions that you offer or prices that you discount. Unless you are successful getting the majority of first time buyers to return to your store, your business won’t be profitable for long.
Since it costs significantly more to attract new customers than to maintain relationships with existing ones, let’s examine a few keys to staying connected with your core customers.
1) COMMUNICATE CONSTANTLY: Whether it’s an email newsletter, a text message, an advance notice of an upcoming promotion, warranty service reminders, etc. – never let your steady customers think that you take them for granted.
2) EMPHASIZE PEOPLE OVER TECHNOLOGY: Make sure that a knowledgeable, pleasant person answers the phone when a customer calls your business. The harder it is for a customer to talk to a qualified human being when there is a question or a problem, the less likely it is that you’ll ever see that customer again. Voice mail is fine, but only after an initial contact with a competent person. Your customers are not robots, and they have no desire to converse with one.
3) BE RELIABLE: If you say that you’ll do something – then do it! Should you see that a promise cannot be met, then let the customer know immediately. Don’t make excuses – nobody wants to hear them. Do have a revised plan of action to discuss with the customer so that they know what to expect. This is no time for surprises. Remember that most customers hate surprises.
4) OFFER CUSTOMER INCENTIVES: Give past customers a reason to return to your business. Customer appreciation sales, direct mail sale events, etc. are great ways to make sure that your core customers return.
Always treat each customer as the individual that they are, not merely as an account number. Outstanding customer service is about bringing previous customers back for more – then sending them away happy again. Only then will they pass positive feedback regarding your business along to others, who may then experience the brand of service that you provide. In turn, they too will become the best type of customer – a repeat customer.