There are several key, cardinal rules when working with your customers. It’s critical that you exhibit proper etiquette in working with customers if you expect them to remain your customers. To do so, consider these proven tactics in exhibiting true customer-care etiquette.
Friendliness is easy to exercise in your daily routine, yet difficult to find in today’s fast-paced, selfish society. Your friendliness could be the difference in keeping a distraught or frustrated customer from moving on to work with your competition.
If your customer has a problem that you are unsure how to fix, tell them. “Under-promise; over-deliver” is the mantra exercised in the best sales and customer service teams all over the world. If your customers have questions that you can answer, answer honestly, even if it may not be the answer the customer wants to hear. Honesty is always your best tactic for effective customer service, as the customer will appreciate your honesty and will continue to work with you as a result.
Take copious notes and follow through on all that you can do to help your customer with their issues. Make sure your customer knows you are aware of their issues-repeat back what they have told you to ensure they know that you heard them. Then, put together a game plan that resolves their concerns quickly and effectively. Share the game plan with your customers, and make sure you do everything you say you will do as outlined on the game plan.
Once you have solved a customer’s problem, make sure you follow through afterward to ensure your customer is not just satisfied, but is thoroughly happy with the results of your actions. Using the game plan to follow up with your customers will demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence.
While you do want to be friendly, remember that you are conducting business. It is important to remain professional and objective in all you do and say with your customers. Professionalism is a lost art in dealing with customers, so the better you are in handling your customers professionally, honestly, and ethically, the more likely you will be to maintain lifelong customer relationships.
Overall, if you want to keep your customers happy and loyal to your company and its brands, it is imperative that you exude excellence in customer service. Putting in place all of these tactics will ensure your customers are happier and more loyal than they may be today.
Engaging Life-Long Customers
Life-long customers in the 21st century are very difficult to maintain. There is so much competition vying for the same specific customer demographic that companies have to work more diligently to engage customers long-term. So how is it done? How do you effectively engage customers long-term? Here are some tips to get you started:
Understand their business and/or specific needs
Meet with your customer on a quarterly or even monthly basis to ensure your company is successfully meeting their needs. Customers are often left on their own once a sale is made, which ultimately results in high customer turnover rates. Developing a business plan in which you meet with your customers regularly will ensure you are consistently on top of their needs. This will also show your customers that you do care about their business, and that you will do what it takes to keep their business. Make sure your customers know how valuable they are to you.
Partner for future growth
Meeting with your customer regularly is only the beginning. Take time to look at their future business opportunities and build plans to ensure your products are included in their future business plans. As your customer’s business grows or their needs change, it is really important that you are working alongside them as a partner to continue to build your relationship and watch it grow.
Understand your value proposition to your customer
Customers like to know that you are listening, and that what you have to sell and/or provide them adds value to their business. Many companies will try to sell items or services that are not helpful to their customers just to increase their own bottom line. These businesses don’t keep customers for long because they are unable and/or unwilling to exhibit true, value-added products and services to their customers. Value-added services are critical to life-long customer happiness.
Understand Customer Marketplace
Knowing your customer’s market is one of the best services you can give your customers. Keeping customers for life means you will need to understand their market and continue to keep up with new trends and challenges they face daily. Staying ahead of the game with them will ensure you are well-positioned to meet those needs before they become real business issues that neither you nor your customers can address without outside help.
A great way to objectively ascertain how well you are doing in providing value-added services to your customers is to conduct customer-focus surveys (through 3rd party resources). Surveys are designed to help you get inside the “heads” of your customers, and will assist you in adjusting your course effectively.
Overall, maintaining lifelong customers requires a strong commitment to excellence. With this mindset, you will structure yourself to develop strong relationships that are mutually beneficial over the long haul.