Happy customers can make your business be profitable and successful for years to come, excelling in customer service is a key reason why the best businesses continually perform better than their competitors.
Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you may think to keep your customers happy, here’s ten easy steps in the things which you need to do right now:
Manage Expectations – Before you even make a sale, you should be aware of the general expectations your potential customers and clients expect of you. This means they may have a pre-conceived idea of your business, it’s reputation, the type of products or services you produce and so on. If you enjoy a good reputation, then you’ll need to provide a high-quality service to maintain your elite position within your industry.
Anticipate Their Needs – By using your market research, you should generally know the needs of your customers, this means they may ask for a certain product, type of service and so on. By anticipating their needs, you can easily offer a superior service which can be hard to match by your competition.
Anticipate Customer Problems – In a similar vein to anticipating your customer needs, if you can identify any potential problems before they occur, you’re already one step ahead of most people. This enables you to highlight how your products or services can solve your customers problems – and if you can solve their issues, why would they even think about using one of your competitors instead?
Plan Accordingly – It goes without saying, you and your staff should know your products and services inside out, this means all of the technical details, if applicable, pricing, shipping costs and so on. There’s nothing worse than trying to purchase an item from a company who doesn’t know the basics about what they’re selling.
Be Dedicated – At the end of the day, customers are arguably the most important part of any business, without them, there is no business. This means you need to be dedicated in maintaining high levels of customer service throughout everything you do, from answering the telephone or closing sales. This constant level of high quality will leave a good impression and stand you in good stead for years to come. Remember, we all have our off days, it could be five minutes before closing or you’ve been stuck in a huge traffic jam before work, on these testing days, this is when your dedication will be put to the test.
Train Your Staff – Of course, you can’t be everywhere at once – if you have staff then you’ll to train them so they understand the level of customer service you expect. There’s no reason why everybody in your company should strive to high standards, if required you may need to teach them some basic customer service techniques which you expect them to deliver on a daily basis.
Listen – Although this may sound simple, you wouldn’t believe how many companies simply don’t listen to their customers needs. How many sales professionals or members of staff have you seen trying to sell a product based on its attributes alone, it happens all the time. For customers they may not care about every single attribute, they may have one simple problem which needs solving and to them this can easily make or break a sale. So the next time you’re speaking to a customer, listen to their problems and highlight how your product and service can easily help their requirements.
Thank Customers – You wouldn’t believe how many businesses simply forget to thank their customers and clients, you should always thank your customers at the time of a sale or even enquiry. Depending on your profit margins, it can even be a good idea in some industries to include a little thank you gift as part of their order. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love getting free stuff, in many cases the surprise of a free gift will win you a lot of future business.
Keep Customers Informed – If your product or service needs to be manufactured or delivered to your customer, please keep them informed at every stage of the process. There’s nothing worse than purchasing an item from a company then hearing nothing for weeks, if not sometimes for months at a time. As a customer this can be extremely frustrating, and it certainly doesn’t paint your business in a good light either.
Ask for Feedback – After you’ve completed a sale, there’s nothing wrong in asking for feedback in how your company operated. It can be a great idea to set-up a place for feedback at your customers own convenience, this can be on your website or even a suggestion box in your store.
Deal with Dissatisfaction – Sometimes things can and do go wrong, it happens to the best of businesses, however they normally have some form of plan to deal with dissatisfied customers. For example, how many times have you seen a company give a gift card out should something bad occur, happens every day. While this may be a small token, it can go a long way in delivering high quality customer service.
Follow Up – If you haven’t heard from a customer or client after a sale has been made, for some industries it can be great to simply follow up on their progress. This should be done in a relaxed manner, a simple phone call a few days later or even an email. You can win a lot of repeat business in the after-sales process, you would be shocked how many companies don’t contact their old customers once a sale has been done.
Make Changes – If you’ve received feedback on your customer service or products, there’s nothing wrong in making changes to your business should you feel its required. This shows your customers and clients you’re listening to their ideas and suggestions.