Getting to know your customers is great for service, great for business
Good service is good business, according to American Express, which in its 2011 Global Customer Service Barometer found 70 percent of Americans were willing to spend an average of 13 percent more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
Do those numbers still hold in a business landscape where consumers can find anything they want at a click of a mouse and have it delivered to their door?
While AmEx hasn’t revisited U.S. consumers opinions in recent surveys (2017 looked at Singaporeans), if you have a business, service can be the thing that sets you apart in an increasingly competitive landscape. Consumers who have positive experiences told an average of nine others of their good experience, according to that same 2011 AmEx Barometer. But they told about 16 of their bad ones.
Good service really can be make or break in terms of reputation and growing your business. So how do you provide such relationships? Building relationships is the perfect place to start.
Here are a few ideas to help:
How often you speak with customers? Are you calling or emailing only to make a transaction? If so, start initiating interaction -- by phone, by email, in person -- and just touch base and check in, see how the last purchase they made worked out for them, ask if they need anything from you. No sales pitch, just a friendly check-in.
Do you have a customer loyalty program? Such programs are a great tool for building relationships, not to mention tracking customer habits and preferences. If your company is too small for such a program, even consider discounts for regular customers or those who hit a certain purchasing threshold.
“Not my job” will lead to “you’re not getting my money.” Be responsive across all positions of the company, as well as on social media and to email and the phone. Make sure everyone on your staff knows your customer service strategies and is a part of the effort to achieve them.
Get to know ‘em
Call your customers by name, remember them, make sure they know you don’t see them as just another sale.
The customer is always right
If a customer comes to you seeking resolution to a problem or situation that is not in company policy, don’t simply say no because of policy. Consider the situation and work with them to find a solution that makes them happy and doesn’t hurt your business. The customer is always right is a mantra to live by in business. (Remember that info from AmEx above. You don’t want them telling 16 people about their experience). A customer retained is always more valuable to your bottom line than a new customer gained.
Ask them to spread the word
And that retained customer could lead to new ones. If you have a loyal, happy customer, let them know how much you value them. And ask if they feel the same, to please recommend your business to friends, family and coworkers.