Image by: Intel Free Press
By Michael Sterling
Customer service can make or break your entire company. Shockingly, it’s still one of the most underrated priorities business owners make. According to the American Express Survey, 78% of consumers have abandoned a transaction due to bad customer service experiences. Needless to say when your customers feel important, everything else follows.
#1) Good Service Saves You Money
It’s 6 – 7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to keep an existing one and, according to the Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report, unhappy customers are highly unlikely to be repeat customers as 9% of customers report having stopped doing business with companies of bad customer service.
More than making your customers happy, it’s also an investment. Keeping your employees aware of the customer demographic is just as important as putting them through a detailed training program on how to talk to consumers.
*Tip: TrainingConnection.com is a great tool for small businesses to check out. Not only will they help you develop a great program to use for new employees, but they’ll be able to create a strategy garnered towards your particular market.
All it takes is one slip up to lose a customer forever. When they can’t get a hold of you, when you’re inconsistent on callback times, or if you’ve managed to drop them through the cracks not only does it show a lack of organization, but a lack of respect for their business. Even if you can afford to keep them waiting, never take the risk.
One of the most valuable things you can do is face-to-face interaction. It’s a rarity these days. With customers you deal with consistently, a quick coffee or Skype session will cement the relationship. There are so many ratings websites out there. One bad rating might subliminally change their minds about you – that’s risky.
*Tip: More than making yourself available, make the experience available at all times. Special services like car pickups from the airport or VIP rewards will make you stand out from competitors. Nothing will build trust more than dependency.
#3) Show Them Hidden Knowledge
Relationships are great and all, but offering deep knowledge to them about the product/service itself will make them more intrigued. For example, if you’re selling coffee don’t just spend time talking about competing brands. Talk about the geo-location of where the coffee is grown, how it’s planted, and even its complicated sifting process.
Talk about the merchandise, trends in the market, and the customer’s own collecting habits or preferences. Once you gain their interest, you have more wiggle room to make a deal. You never know. Some customers may even know more than you do so you might as well take it as an opportunity to learn.
#4) Give Them A Community
Giving your customers an opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with each other creates a unique community hard to break. This doesn’t have to necessarily be through social media. It could be an interactive part of your website, a weekly/monthly webinar, or even a convention held in the back of a restaurant.
Trade shows are another great way of reaching out because it creates a destination while also giving you chances to collaborate with other local or similar businesses.
Traveling is always going to be a good idea. Not only will it make it easier for customers to find you but coinciding events could be a bigger draw for them to attend as well. ABNSave.com has great deals for small to medium-sized businesses to take advantage of, i.e. hotel, flights, car. Check them out. You’d be surprised how much money you save – short and long term – all by showing gratitude to your customers.