Good customer service will bring customers back. If you send people away happy, they are more likely to come back again AND pass their good experience along to friends and family. Forming relationships with your customers is key to a successful business.
It isn't always easy! Here are some simple things you can do to provide great customer service.
1. Keep your promises. If you say something will be delivered Tuesday, it better be there on Tuesday. Reliability is key to a good customer relationship. Nothing annoys customers (and loses future business) faster than a broken promise.
2. Ditch the sales pitch and listen to what your customers want. Give your customer a chance to talk -- your customer will tell you exactly what he or she needs.
3. Face complaints sincerely. The "you can't please everyone" reaction is a good way to lose an unhappy customer. Some complaints can actually help you improve your products and services!
4. Always answer the phone. People usually don't want to talk to your answering machine or a computer recording with menu options.
5. Be helpful first, look for profit last. Doing good things for people -- without worrying about making the sale -- will do wonders for your business reputation. Everyone you helped (without pushing the sale) will go tell friends and family how kind you were.
6. Train your staff well. Make sure they know enough about your product and services so they don't have to pass a customer off from person to person.
7. Empower your staff to make decisions. If your staff can't do anything without permission, it's going to be very frustrating for your customers.
8. Always give the customer an extra when they make a purchase. Whether it's information on how to use the product, a discount on a future purchase, or a small token (like a promo item printed with your business name and contact information) -- people love to get more than they thought they were getting.
9. Learn to read people. Some people like to browse and be left alone. Some people like to be guided by hand. As you learn to tell the difference, your customers will be happier.
10. Remember repeat customers. This can be a difficult task when you have a high volume operation. Keep notes in a customer file, if it helps. People like to be greeted by name, and they love to be remembered -- it makes them feel important.
11. Make an extra effort. People recognize and appreciate effort made on their behalf.
The bottom line is that good customer service will bring customers in (and keep them coming back) much more than any massive sales campaigns or huge discounts will. Good customer service means making a commitment to learning what your customer wants and what your customer needs -- and taking steps to make it happen.
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