When you run a business, attracting new customers is the first hurdle, but equally important is making sure they return, time after time. Excellent customer service is the key to your continued success.
Good service lets your customers know how much you care about developing a long-term relationship with them. This means far more to the majority of customers than just buying a good product. When you focus on delivering the best customer service, your business will benefit in numerous ways.
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When customers feel happy with the service you provide, they will stick with your brand. This is a massive plus point, as it will attract more positive reviews and references when satisfied customers recommend you to others. Gaining new customers through word-of-mouth is an important way of boosting your client base for free.
Over time, positive references can save you a fortune – after all, they advertise your business. Research has shown potential customers trust peer reviews more than paid-for adverts, with 91% of consumers admitting to reading online reviews and 84% of them saying they trust them as much as they trust friends’ opinions.
Value your employees
All of these bonuses will boost your business’s profitability and subsequently improve employee morale and confidence. This has a knock-on effect, as the happier your employees are, the more likely they are to continue to provide good customer service.
Combined, these factors will give you a definite advantage over your competitors. When your employees enjoy their job and value the relationships they have built up with customers, they won’t allow a competitor to encroach on their territory and will do everything in their power to continue to hang on to customers. In the long term, your business will become sustainable and hard to beat.
If you’re wondering about how to provide the finer customer service skills, it pays to know it’s the little things that go a long way! The old saying, “Good manners cost nothing,” couldn’t be more relevant in business. A simple acknowledgement of customers as they come through the door – and remembering their name if they are regulars – makes a massive difference.
Following on in this vein, be interested and helpful, without being pushy. This means letting people browse for a while and then politely asking if there’s anything you can help them with. If they reply, “Not at the moment, I’m just looking,” respect this and don’t try and foist your services on them.
If a customer is taken ill while in your store, provide them with a chair and fetch them a glass of water – if they are alone, ask if there’s anyone you should contact for them. Similarly, when a customer leaves, always say goodbye – even if it wasn’t you that served them. It’s all about making them feel valued while they’re on your premises.
In terms of products, let customers know you’re happy to order in special items for them. If something isn’t normal stock, order it for the client and then arrange to telephone them as soon as it has arrived. If it is a gift for someone else, offer to gift-wrap their purchases before they leave the store.
You can also operate a “try before you buy” scheme, offering perfume and skincare sample products, for example. Be knowledgeable about what you’re selling, so you can help customers with any queries they might have – if you don’t have the answer yourself, go and find out from someone else.
Always believe in what you are selling, as customers are very often influenced by your body language, as well as what you are saying.
Make the customer feel valued – this can be achieved by operating a rewards scheme. Introduce a bonus card, whereby customers can earn points when they make a purchase, spending them in your store when they have earned enough points. If you run a café, you could try introducing a loyalty card that’s stamped every time they buy a beverage. When they buy five, they get one free, for example.
Try not to keep people waiting. There’s nothing worse than leaving customers standing around awaiting service – and there’s always the risk they may go elsewhere! If there are a lot of people queuing to be served, make sure that you at least acknowledge you have seen them and apologise for keeping them waiting. Finally, always remember the saying that “no job’s too small”. Remember that if you do the smaller jobs well, this can lead to bigger jobs in the long term.
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