Last week, I was waiting for a parcel to be delivered by a freight company. After seven phone calls, what felt like endless hours spent on hold and five promises that it would arrive ‘tomorrow’, it finally made it nine days later! This made me think about customer service and relationships and how important they are in any business.
Will I ever recommend this freight company? I don’t think so! Will I tell people never to use it? Probably. Now imagine if 20 or even 30 per cent of their customers have a similar experience. That is so much lost business.
Most businesses forget how crucial it is to look after their customers and prospects. I’m pretty sure you will have had a similar customer service interaction at some point in your life.
So, let's be different! Show your customers and prospects that you value them and don't miss out on opportunities.
Reality-check your business: How strong are your relationships? Are you looking after your customers and prospects?
Here are five easy and practical tips on how to improve your relationships with your customers in an instant.
|Franziska Iseli-Hall on getting good customer feedback|
1. Show appreciation: Make your clients feel appreciated. There is a lot of competition out there and it’s easy for your customers to choose a different provider if they don’t feel appreciated and valued. Maybe surprise them with a birthday or Christmas card, invite them to a special event and give them more value than they are expecting. Say thank you more often.
2. Be honest: Make honesty one of the top values in your business. If you know that a certain product or service is not suitable for one of your clients, say so. Don’t just sell it for the sake of selling it. Your customer will remember your honesty and refer you to their friends and family because they trust you.
To give you an example, I once saw this beautiful jacket in a shop window. I went in and tried it on and when I asked the shop assistant if it suited me, she said that it looked a bit too big for me. I was so grateful for her honesty. She could have made a sale right then and there, but she chose to be honest and make a frequent customer instead. I told so many friends about my experience and even though she didn’t make that one sale, she got a much bigger return.
3. Be authentic: Be real and be yourself in your relationships, it’s too much hard work in the long term not to be. We all like to deal with someone who has a personality, it is so much more interesting and fun. Think about someone you know who is really authentic, how does this person make you feel? I myself definitely prefer surrounding myself with authentic people.
4. Be a good listener: Listen to what your customers tell you and remember when you see them next time. Being listened to is one of the greatest gifts you can give your customers. A little tip here - if one of your customers tells you about her son who is into soccer and playing an important game on the weekend, remember (maybe make a little note in your database) and when you see your customer next time, ask her about her son and how he went in the soccer game. You’ll see how impressed she will be that you remembered it. She will use your service or product and refer you guaranteed!
5. Keep in touch: Be in touch with your customers and prospects frequently to stay in their minds. Human beings are very good at forgetting. Remind them of your business by staying in touch via email, phone, face to face, mail outs, newsletters etc. Next time they need your service or product, they will remember you over your competitor.
What can you do better in your business right now? Think about one thing you can do to improve your business relationships, implement one new strategy straight away and see your relationships flourish.
To your success!