Do you find customer reviews seem to be underwhelming? Are you not sure why that is? Here are 7 tips for business owners to improve upon their customer service.
Build a Relationship
Building a relationship with your customers seems time-consuming but it is worth the investment. Not only will you be making a sale today, but you will also be preparing yourself for future sales. Further developing relationships with your customers also gives you a chance to see how you can better serve them. You may get to know their preferences and tweak orders tailored to the customer’s needs, increasing the chances of them shopping with you again.
Harvard Business Review states that “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” And according to Invesp Consulting, “44% of companies admit they “have a greater focus” on the acquisition, whereas 18% focus more on retention; the rest claim to have an equal focus. ” Why not focus on unbeatable customer service to keep customers if the price is so low?
For example, as the owner of a coffee shop, you see a regular customer, who always orders a single cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin. You could either 1) get their items ready so you have it waiting on them or 2) wait for them to tell you their order…again. As a customer, I would prefer Option 1, not every time but often enough to let the customer know they’re an important part of your day. Of course, if they’re the kind to order something different each time, this isn’t something you can do but is easy to keep in mind. Even if you know they have a preference for a certain flavor, you can offer suggestions they may enjoy.
Every customer is different, with a different set of needs from your business. Some may require more details about a product or service before they are ready to purchase while others make decisions quickly. Customers may need additional accommodations as well such as having the product delivered for example. Taking the extra step and noticing the small details dramatically improves your customer’s satisfaction. As the owner, you have to be prepared to work with customers to reach a common goal, buying your product.
Create a Positive Culture
Have you ever been in a business where those working behind the counter were more concerned with getting the last word in than helping you? Do you want to know what I did when that happened to me? I walked out and haven’t been back. Nothing is worse for a customer to enter a negative environment. If it’s their first time there or their hundredth if they start to worry if they’ll have to referee they probably won’t return. If you have an internal conflict in your business, it’s time for a change. I have seen companies lose sales because they were arguing in front of customers. The best policy as a boss is to have meetings with your employees in private if a conflict arises, furthermore talk about conflict management in a company meeting and how to deal with it.
Deal With Rude Customers
Customers can be rude it is simply a fact when dealing with the public. And the bad part is one rude customer could easily ruin your whole day if you let it. It’s important to remember to give the benefit of the doubt when you can. Remember not to take it personally, sometimes people are just having a bad day. Sometimes nothing, not even exceptional customer service can turn someone’s day around. No matter what be as polite as you can while trying to keep the situation from escalating. Look for a solution to fix the problem the customer is upset about. If all else fails and you are still unable to help them, direct them to someone who can… even if it is a competitor. It sounds like a crazy thing to do and at the time they may not realize it but it does show that you have their best interest in mind.
Customer Senses (visual, touch, taste smell, sounds)
Customer service is more than treating them well. By keeping the environment as appealing as possible you create an environment they are happy to be in. Look around your store and start with the five senses, keep your area clear of clutter and trash for visual appeal. Keep the products and other items neat and clean point-of-sale displays. When your customer walks in nothing seems worse than a bad smell. Take time to make sure you have appealing smells. It could be something as simple as making sure air fresheners are plugged in or the garbage is taken out. Also, if your sales area is too loud or has annoying noises you may want to address that. Remember, your goal is to keep customers shopping with you, not make them want to turn around.
Remember the Little Things
Ever had that customer you see every week and you wonder if they’re ever going to buy anything else? Are you guilty of being annoyed that is the only item the customer purchases? Small items can seem like a waste of time, but they may be leading to something bigger. It seems as if we have all had that customer that never purchases much revenue-wise. However, if you do what you can to help them out each time, answer questions, engage, be friendly they will remember you when it’s time to buy that big-ticket item. With this type of customer, it is important to keep in mind that if they come once they will come again until you give them a reason not to.
Customers are more willing than you think to give you feedback about how you’re doing. You could have your customers fill out a simple survey asking” How may we improve?”. You can rate qualities on a scale of 1 to 10 such as friendliness, speed, product quality and so forth. It shouldn’t take long before you to have a good sample size to gather results from.
Another way for you to find customer feedback is online reviews. These will also generate ideas for improvement. No matter what, respond to any review, good or bad you are at the very least acknowledging the customer and making them feel valued. Give a personal response to show you really do care about what they have to say.
Overall, customer service does not have to be intimidating or a process to dread. It is simply no more than putting yourself in their shoes and giving your customers the best service you possibly can.