How To Let Your Customers Know They’re Important
You can ensure that your relationships with your customers are great in three simple ways.
1. Don’t be a robot, be a human. From one’s language to one’s interactions, everything adds up to an overall customer experience. Excellent branding and consistent messaging are important for companies to create and maintain a great impression, but the experience comes down to real, human interaction. Get your relationships off to a good start with your customers by greeting them sincerely and kindly. Get your staff on the same page.
A scripted, lifeless interaction will leave a poor impression, as poor as an outright bad experience. A clearly, bad experience, at least, can be addressed and even turned into a great relationship. To inject life into an interaction that may get repeated hundreds of times per day, it doesn’t have to be a motivational speech, just make sure it includes the top three qualities:
Smile. Smile every time, even if your face needs a bit more coffee. It will even positively affect your mood with each eye crinkle.
Use a human hello. “Thank you for calling ACME Widgets, how may I help you with your widget needs, today?” could be ok, if it doesn’t turn too monotonous. However, all one really needs is a nice, “Hello, ACME Widgets, this is Stevesie.” Keep it simple, keep it polite, and greet customers just as one greets strangers at a Bar-B-Q. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just has to not be forced.
Listen and repeat. Patiently listen to what the customer is saying, without interrupting, and repeat back to them what you think they are saying, in your own words. This builds great rapport and it ensures that you really are understanding your customer.
2. Maintain your relationships. Use newsletters, periodic check-ins such as happy-birthday notifications, follow-up thank-you calls and letters, and social media to keep connected with your customers. Ensure that you have ways to keep in touch with your customers after they’ve bought with you, to say hello, to follow up, and to elicit and resolve issues that might otherwise turn into quiet departures to the competition.
Ensure that there is a good system in place to find out if your customers do have an issue and resolve it quickly by making it easy for your customers to let you know about problems and by following up after resolving issues, to ensure total satisfaction. If your customers are happy, make it easy for them to tell their friends and family with tell-a-friend incentives and easy-to-share materials, digital or printed. Invite your customers to show their appreciation on social media and with online reviews.
3. Keep improving. There’s always something that can be done better. Track performance over time with periodic surveys, with traffic numbers, and with anecdotal observations. Simply ask customers how you could do better and what you’re doing right. Double down on what your customers like. For what your customers would like to see less, don’t simply stop doing it, see if there is an underlying problem, be creative, and find a way to do something entirely new, as a result of the learning opportunity.