Keep Them Coming Back: 5 Tips for Happy Customers
According to industry estimates, more than 8 in 10 customers have given up on a business as a result of poor service. Most companies tend to underestimate the importance of good customer service and under-invest in what is a crucial component of their business. However, providing good customer service doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. More important is having a clear vision, promoting your brand effectively and responding to your customers’ needs. Here are 5 simple ways to boost your business’ customer satisfaction levels and keep them coming back.
1. Manage expectations. Most of your customers understand that quality is a reflection of cost and what they buy won’t last forever. However, as long as you make sure customers understand the process involved and try to make their experience of your product or service the best it can be, you’ll likely keep them happy. Managing customers’ expectations appropriately means you should promise less than you deliver – that way customers will always feel they are getting a good deal. Make sure you’ve got a good returns policy for when things break or customers change their mind – even if they’re unhappy with a particular product, customers will remain loyal to a brand if they’re treated well.
2. The customer is King. Whether you run a luxury hotel or an auto repair shop, you should always treat customers with the utmost respect, politeness and professionalism. Customers are more forgiving of a poor product than poor service so you should be as helpful as you possibly can, and never lose your temper or talk down to your customers. If you use a call centre to outsource customer enquiries, choose one that invests in proper training for agents and arms them with the best technology to resolve issues and complaints as quickly as possible. Don’t just react to customer complaints but proactively seek feedback and respond by making necessary changes.
3. Freebies. It may be an old trick but everybody loves a bargain so make sure you offer regular promotions, discounts and free gifts to your customers. Of course, this isn’t a something-for-nothing deal – in return for the occasional giveaway you’ll be rewarded with loyal customers who will advocate for your brand. One proven way to drive traffic is to offer a free gift card with every purchase to all your customers. You can also send out your offer selectively – for example, to good customers you haven’t heard from lately. Depending on your relationship with your customers, you could even call to offer your special promotion – the more personal you can make your customer-business relationship, the better.
4. Social Media. If you find it hard to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and all the other platforms out there, you’d better hire someone who can, as social media if a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool if used effectively. Many companies these days not only have a Twitter handle to promote their brand but a separate handle just to manage customer enquiries, complaints and brand mention on the site. As well as building up your brand presence with updates and posts, use innovative marketing campaigns to drive traffic. A clever campaign that goes ‘viral’ could bring in many new customers as well as add kudos to your brand – and most of the marketing is done by your customers in the form of re-tweets, shares and likes. Social media is a great way to maintain a casual but ongoing relationship with customers, vital for building long-term brand loyalty.
5. Value your employees as well as your customers. Great customer service is unlikely to come from employees who feel undervalued, overworked and underpaid for their efforts. In addition, you’re likely to lose your best staff as soon as they find something better, adding huge costs to your business in finding a replacement and retraining them. There’s a good reason why the best-performing companies have high staff retention rates – happy employees are more productive and offer better returns for businesses. Reward your employees for good service and they’ll represent your brand with enthusiasm and pride. Competitive salaries and bonuses are one way but equally important is providing proper training and a clear path for career development. Simple recognition of their efforts may be reward enough for some employees. However you do it, make your employees feel special and they’ll do the same for your customers.
With competition strict these days, it may only take one bad experience to lose a valuable customer to your rivals. While attracting new customers is important, it’s far more cost-effective to keep the ones you’ve already got. Engaging with your customers and providing the best shopping experience possible will ensure they keep coming back for more.