Any successful business owner will tell you that the key to successful business is customer service. This is such a simple tool to help your business grow, yet so many businesses miss this opportunity to draw new clients and keep the current ones. A simple smile and hello from a sales clerk when a customer walks into a store can make a customer happy that they chose to shop there instead of at the competition.
I felt the lack of customer service just the other day when I walked into a local retail chain to purchase some items. The aisles were disheveled, the floors dirty, and the customer service lacking. I was unable to locate the simple items I was trying to purchase, no thanks to any of the service clerks walking the store. When I finally stood in line to pay for my items, I was redirected to three different lines because no one wanted to ring up my purchases!
Another day later in the week, I went to a similar, if not more expensive, retail chain to buy a gift for my mother. Although I knew I was spending more money than at the competition, I noticed organized shelves, cleaner aisles, and friendlier employees. The extra expense was worth it to me to shop in such a pleasant environment.
Studies have proven that customers are more willing to pay more for a service or item if they feel they are being treated with respect. While I have returned to the more expensive store time and time again, I will probably never shop at the first store again.
Whether you own an actual store or just a website, customer service is still an important part of marketing. As one well-established drugstore chain tells their employees, a happy customer will tell one or two other people about your business, but an unhappy customer will usually tell at least seven other people! The reputation of your business is on the line with each client, so you must treat each one as you would want to be treated.
1. Keep your store clean. If you own an actual store, be sure to mop the floors, keep the shelves organized, and dust occasionally. If your “store” is your website, make sure that you keep the pages up-to-date and that you check spelling and grammar. Be sure that there is a definite flow from page to page rather than having a different design for each page; most readers will quickly leave a website if they feel confused by the web design. Make sure that your contact information is clearly visible, so the client can make an easy purchase.
2. The customer is always right. While this may not always be the case, you can still make the customer feel that they were verified in their opinion. If the customer is wrong, kindly offer another suggestion to rectify the situation, and never tell them you think they are at fault! No matter what, be sure to keep a smile on your face, even if you are on the phone with them, because a customer can hear the smile in your voice.
3. Be available. When a customer walks into a store, they want to know that there are service clerks readily available to assist them as they shop. The same is true if you own an online “store.” The customer wants to know that they can purchase items from you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The best way to accomplish this is to set your website to take orders even while you are sleeping. If the client has any questions about your products or services, make sure you offer a phone number or email address and the hours you can be reached. Remember to check your email first thing each morning and return calls as soon as possible.
Follow these simple steps for making your customers happy in order to help your business as it grows. These simple marketing tools are inexpensive and necessary, and your customers will be sure to return to do business with you.