People try all sorts of things in order to grow their business and gain more customers. They’ll slash prices, overspend on marketing, create outlandish promotions- all in the name of increasing their bottom line.
When it comes to growing your business, we recommend you KISS; Keep It Simple, Stupid!
While there are a lot of things you can do to boost sales and grow your business in the short-term, there is one thing you can do that is more solid and sustainable than any of the above efforts: offer OUTSTANDING customer service!
While it may sound dull and/or reptitive, great customer service is becoming a lost art. With the ever-increasing reliance on the internet to complete business transactions, customers find themselves interacting more with computers and automated phone systems than with live human beings. Offering a great experience for your customers is a great way to differentiate yourself from all of your competitors out there trying to make a buck.
Putting a focus on great customer service is beneficial to your business in many ways: it increases word-of-mouth referrals, strengthens brand loyalty, is sustainable in the long-term, AND takes no additional effort! Just do your job and take care of your customers- the results will follow.
Not sure how to refocus your business on your customer? We’ve got you covered.
Here are 7 little things you can do to delight your customers that will pay dividends in the long-run:
1. Be Present:
It’s 2017; we all have smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Any information we want or need is available anytime, anywhere. What’s become harder than finding the answer to a question we have? Not using these devices and staying present in the moment.
While serving your customers, it is important for you and your team to remember that THEY are the most important thing in the world. Without your customer, you don’t eat. Eye contact, nonverbal body language, and asking questions go a long way towards showing your customers that you’re present. Turn off phones, hold off on texts, and close your email tabs. Take this opportunity to fully immerse yourself in your customer’s thoughts, and watch how it increases customer engagement and forges a trusting bond.
2. Remember the Name:
Have you ever met someone and instantly forgotten their name? When I was in sales, this was a regular occurence. It bugged me. I made it a point to ALWAYS remember the names of the people I am meeting with. I would even repeat it back to them just to make sure I had it.
From the time we are born, humans hear our names all the time. It’s OURS- it’s who we are, and how we come to know ourselves. We love hearing it. When people call us by our name, we are more attentive, and subconciously trust them because using our name shows a sense of familiarity.
Oftentimes, we are so focused on our sales pitch, the meeting at-hand, or we’re just plain inattentive, so we forget people’s names immediately. This is a very common occurrence, so if you train yourself and your team members to commit to using your customer’s names, it will go a LONG way for your brand’s customer service efforts.
3. LISTEN! Don’t Interrupt:
Well, DUH! The world is such an on-demand place now that people aren’t used to waiting or being patient. We have everything we need at the touch of a button, instantly. This is hurting the art of communication because we want to say what we’re thinking, without having to wait to hear how someone else is thinking.
The truth is, our number one priority should be to understand our customers. While most people are thinking about what they’re going to say next, you can enhance the customer experience by listening intently, asking questions, and showing that you are present. Take notes, ask clarifying questions, and offer perspectives that illustrate your interest in what your customer is saying. Not only will you have a better understanding of the likes and dislikes of your customer, but you will understand your business better because of it.
4. Follow-through on promises:
Life lesson for you: if you make promises, make sure you keep them. Building a brand is hard enough without having to worry about a shotty reputation. Not following through on your promieses is the quickest way to hurt your rep, and as you probably know, bad press spreads 10 times faster than good press.
In business, I live by the motto: “Always underpromise, then overdeliver”. You should be cautious about making promises, especially if it’s unclear if you can keep them or not. But if you make a promise, overdeliver on said promise! Doing so instantly makes you credible and trustworthy, and your brand will reap the benefits.
5. Own your mistakes:
No one likes to be wrong. Even more than that, though, no one likes to ADMIT that they’re wrong. When you’re doing business, however, owning your mistakes can be advantageous.
Businesses are flawed, just like people are flawed- no one is perfect, and mistakes will be made. The worst thing your brand can do is argue with customers or dispute their greivances.
What’s the worst that can happen if you just appease them? They never come back? That’s possible, but making it easy on them increases the probability that one day, they will come back. At the same time, you should be doing so because it’s the right thing to do. The customer is always right- remember that and your customer service rep will skyrocket.
6. Listen to feedback, and TAKE ACTION:
As I stated earlier, your business is only in business because of your customers. You offer a product or service, and your customers give you their hard-earned money to purchase the product or service. So, wouldn’t it make sense to LISTEN to those who pay your bills?
Many businesses don’t want to hear that they’re product or service is less-than-perfect; visit any Yelp page and you’ll often see snarky responses to negative feedback. But, hey, YOUR BUSINESS IS LESS-THAN-PERFECT! Everyone’s is, so instead of taking feedback personally, use it to make your offering better.
Feedback is just a customer’s way of telling you how they feel about your business. If you listen and implement adjustments, you’ll enhance your offering and quell many of their concerns. Not only are you showing your customer that you care about what they think, but you’re also bettering your offer; win-win scenario.
7. Be uncompromising in your values:
From the time your business sells its first product or service, every interaction you have says something about your values. If you can clearly define what your brand stands for, you’ll go a long way towards building a business with loyal customers.
Defining your values isn’t enough, however. You must engrain them in each and every employee you bring on. It must be apparent in every interaction your team has with both customers and prospects alike. It must be a unified front of uncompomising value that tells your customers what they can expect. Having everyone in your organization on the same page is crucial to brand awareness and will net you more postitive customer feedback and referrals.
So there you have it- implement these 7 things into your daily interactions with customers, and watch the magic that ensues. As we mentioned earlier, businesses are starting to use technology to scale their businesses, which oftentimes leaves common-courtesy and customer relations behind. Focusing on offering your customers a great experience can be a game-changer for your brand and create long-term relationships with loyal customers and their networks. Don’t take kindness for granted!