We’ve all heard the old adage: ‘The Customer is Always Right.’ But how much truth can we lend to that statement? It seems that businesses are moving father and farther away from what constitutes excellent customer service, and that associates are less concerned with customer satisfaction than they should be. We know that customers can be pains in the you-know-what, but are we willing to sacrifice our pride for the customers we do want to return?
It starts with commitment. As business owners, we must be completely dedicated to our work in order to even begin to offer great customer service. If we don’t stand behind our products or services and desire to provide the best anyone could ask for, our business isn’t going to be successful. When a customer approaches the proprietor of a business and expresses his dissatisfaction, the business owner has to be prepared to make ammends with that customer. We can’t please everyone, but future discounts, coupons, or replaced products are certainly a start.
In addition to commitment, we have to follow through. Too often have I purchased a product only discover that it was not all it was cracked up to be. Misleading advertisements only lead to angry customers, who voraciously spread the word of their experience. Customers are 88% more likely to talk about a negative experience than a positive one. So please, don’t give them anything negative to talk about!
Along those same lines, be sure to follow up. Keep a running database of your customers’ addresses and send Christmas cards during the holidays. Or, take it a step further and send birthday cards. They will appreciate the gesture and will keep you in mind for future needs. Guaranteed.
Make sure that you are always available. Keep contact information posted wherever you sell your products or services (i.e. website, store front, flyer) and make sure that your customers can reach you. If you provide a phone number, be available at that number, or record a professional message that states the name of your business and when you will be returning the call. If you provide an e-mail address, check it regularly for customer feedback. Answer all e-mails, whether bad or good, because you owe that to your customers.
And lastly, keep in touch. The owners of small businesses count on repeat customers to keep their company afloat. Keep a separate database that details the products or services that each of your customers have purchased. When a new item becomes available, give that customer a heads-up. You might generate another sale!