In today’s competitive, fast-changing environment, excellent customer service is essential for success. This article provides 24 tips to retain customers through enhanced customer service.
Time magazine recently reported that the No. 1 marketing strategy for businesses and organizations now and in the future will be directly related to the quality of that organization’s customer service. “The strategies for keeping customers for life can be honed down to basic steps that any business owner can use,” says customer service expert and Vistage Speaker Arnold Sanow. Following are 24 tips Arnold recommends to keep your customers loyal.
24 Ways to Keep Customers for Life
- Reward your customers. Send a gift, provide a lead or generate business for them.
- Use your customers’ services and buy their products. If you want to increase loyalty, there is no better way.
- Send thank-you cards. Make sure they are handwritten and sent promptly. Management guru Peter Drucker attributed much of his success to the fact that he sent out 12 thank-you cards every day.
- Return phone calls promptly. Since many people don’t return calls at all, you automatically look good when you do.
- Hire mystery shoppers. To really find out how good your customer service is, hire someone to go out and use your service from start to finish.
- Do what you say you are going to do.
- Do things when you say you’re going to do them.
- Underpromise and overdeliver.
- Be accessible. Make sure you are available and willing to help customers whenever there is a problem.
- Be credible. If you can’t establish trust right away, customers may start looking at your competitors.
- Appearance counts. Perception is reality, and the reality is that people do judge a book by its cover.
- Show empathy. Remember, the best customers are your currents ones. Stay in touch and continue to service their wants and needs.
- Have a “Goof Kit.” If you make a mistake, it’s not enough to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Promote customers’ products and services. By getting business for your clients, you ensure you will have a customer for life.
- Do things for the customer’s convenience not yours. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to do business with you. The easier you can make it for your customer to do business with you, the more business you will have. Determine all the ways you can eliminate the hassle factor.
- Send an invoice periodically with a “no charge” on it. This will help your customers remember you. And if it is unexpected, it will have a much larger impact.
- Have a customer advisory panel. Only by knowing your customers’ wants and needs can you successfully grow your business and be totally customer oriented.
- Be a resource. No matter what your customers need, try to find it for them — even if it has nothing to do with your business.
- Shower customers with kindness.
- Speak your customers’ language. If you use jargon your customers can’t understand, they won’t use you.
- Have a great attitude.
- Treat your employees well. If they are treated poorly, there is a good chance your customers also will get poor service.
- Give back to your best customers. If you run a special price or product offer for first-time customers, ensure current customers are offered the same opportunity.
- Don’t show an attitude of indifference to your customers. In a recent study on why people give up on a company, 68 percent quit because of an attitude of indifference toward the customers by the owner, manager or employees. Conclusion “Customer service is more than just smile training — it’s about treating people the way they wanted to be treated,” concludes Arnold. “It’s also about giving the client what they want, when they want it and how they want it. It really comes down to the fact that good communication and human relations skills equals good customer relations.”