Your business relies on your customers to keep it profitable and thriving. One of your top priorities should be to make sure each customer is getting the best possible experience each and every time he or she patronizes your business. It’s a good idea to interact personally with your customers on a regular basis so you can see first hand whether or not you are succeeding in this area.
- Write a clear statement about what your clients should expect from you. This may come in the form of a “Customer Bill of Rights” similar to what commercial airlines have created for their passengers that clearly states what each customer should expect. You might also include a basic statement in any marketing materials or other printed literature pertaining to your business. Stating expectations clearly in advance will prevent disappointment down the road.
- Keep track of how you have made customers happy. Perhaps you stayed past closing one day to make sure a customer could pick up his order on the way home from work. Maybe you rushed an order free of charge for a loyal customer in a jam or provided home delivery. Keep track of the extra things you do to satisfy your customers, so that you can provide concrete examples when training staff and promoting your business. Tracking such things can also lead to new ideas for improving customer service overall.
- Focus first on the the customer’s problem, not on your product. Each product or service you provide should be a solution to a customer’s problem. Solving problems should be your main focus. When you speak with a customer, be sure to ask specific questions to find out what the problem is and how best you can solve it. If you fail to do this and only focus on your product, the customer will feel like he or she is being “sold to” and will likely tune out.
- Take responsibility for everything. Even when you delegate tasks and projects to other team members, the responsibility ultimately falls on you. Make sure you keep yourself informed of all aspects of your business, whether or not you are directly involved. This goes for both successes and failures. Your customers should know that you have a personal stake in everything that goes on in your business because it holds you accountable and makes you seem trustworthy enough to deserve their loyalty.
- Make note of customers’ personal likes and dislikes. As you get to know your customers, make a note of personal preferences they may share with you. This will help you to more effectively tailor your customer service to their individual needs. Keep an index-card sized file box handy or keep track on your smartphone, and add to your notes regularly after seeing a customer. He or she will appreciate the individualized attention.
- Show your clients your appreciation for their business. Each and every customer should feel valued and appreciated by you. Sometimes a simple, “Thank you for choosing us; we look forward to seeing you again!” as a customer leaves can make a world of difference. Or send a handwritten thank you note to customers periodically. You can also get creative with how you demonstrate your appreciation by way of incentives and promotions. Find your own personal style, and make sure your customers know how you feel.
Improving customer interaction involves focusing on the customers’ needs first and holding yourself and your team accountable for the way you do business. What else would you add to our list? Please leave your comments below!