Customers are the real lifeblood of any successful business. Unfortunately, as any consumer today will quickly tell you, the care of those customers is sorely lacking in today’s world. From insincerity to unresponsiveness, the lack of genuine customer service is becoming frustratingly commonplace. The solution, the key to keeping customers happy, however, is both simple and inexpensive.
Here are 6 simple ways to keep your customers happy and your business flourishing.
1. Be Genuine
Customers can spot a coat-hanger smile and an insincere greeting a mile away. What they really want is to be engaged as individuals, to sense that you truly care about their experience with your service or product. Speak to your customers as if you’re speaking to an actual person (which you are!) rather than like a pre-recorded pitch given unvaryingly to all.
Many companies provide mechanisms for customers to provide feedback regarding their experience with the company. However, these same companies fall short when it comes to completing the process. Addressing any issues the customer may have had, including sincere and personal communication are the keys to successfully responding to that feedback. If customers feel as if they are not being heard, they are all too likely to relay that feedback to anyone who will listen, bad advertising at its most potent.
Also, explore the variety of feedback methods available. Social media, phone polls, instant messaging, focus groups, and email are just a few of the ways that a given customer may feel comfortable in expressing their opinion in a convenient manner.
3. “The Customer Is Always Right”
The number of people who inwardly cringe or respond with “yeah, but…” to that statement shows how far we’ve drifted from this business principle in our culture today. If you could institute one policy, this would likely be the one to have the greatest impact. By letting the knowledge that customers don’t exist for the sake of the business, but, rather, the other way around, influence your actions, you will do whatever it takes to satisfy each and every customer to the best of your abilities. The customer will then be likely to share their positive experience with friends and family.
Gratitude to customers for their business shouldn’t just be implied. By actually saying, “thank you”, you help to ensure that people feel valued by you. Again, sincerity is vital. The simple qualities of gratitude and kindness will never go out of style.
5. Answer The Phone
When you are told by an automated phone system that “your call is important” to them, do you believe it? Chances are that you not only don’t believe it, but are also likely experiencing a significant amount of frustration. Whether it’s the seemingly endless menus (the ones that you have to listen to all the way through because their “options have recently changed”) or the length of time on hold, the poor sound quality or being routed to the wrong person (or even the right person’s voicemail after an eternity on hold), nobody seems to like automated phone systems except the businesses that use them. Consider the possibility of a personalized answering service. At the very least, simplify your current service as much as possible, and be sure to respond personally whenever possible.
6. Understand Your Customer
There’s really no way around it, no shortcut or easy way. Understanding your customer, their wants and needs, their problems and frustrations, takes time, effort, and diligence. It’s about communicating with your customers, realizing that they are the reason that your business exists and will be the reason for its failure or its success.
It only takes a moment for an unsatisfied customer to air their grievances with the entire world through such platforms as social media. Corporate empires are created and destroyed based on the degree to which that company embraces the idea of keeping their customers happy . It’s the simplest and most inexpensive way to successfully impact your bottom line, and also the most powerful.