There are many relationships in business, but none so important as your relationship with your customers. Like all important relationships, it takes a good amount of work and nurturing to keep customers coming back again. Now that the world has turned virtual, putting an emphasis on making customers feel appreciated and cared for has never been so important to the success of a business.
Every business can use a little work in this area. According to a survey performed by Forrester Research, only 37 percent of brands were rated with excellent or even good customer service, while the remaining 63 percent were rated as simply “ok” or worse. This shows the dire need for businesses to amp up the overall customer experience.
Once a customer becomes unhappy with your product or service, they’ll not only look to one of your competitors to fulfill their business request, but they’ll also spread the word and take away more of your customers – something that takes a lot of work to get back. Keep this from happening by being prepared. Use these five tips to help you keep your customers satisfied and coming back for more.
1. Be Real
It’s important to recognize the profound difference between customer service in a brick and mortar store and customer service in an online setting. You have to work a lot harder to get that welcoming, “let me help you out” kind of feeling online, but it can be done, simply by being authentic and humanized. Instead of switching to a robot personality when interacting with customers, show them that you are a human being that cares. Address customers by name, empathize with their situation, and then offer a solution that will truly solve the problem.
2. Use a Quality Management System (QMS)
If you’re into improving the overall customer experience, a QMS is for you. This system provides a set of procedures, policies, and processes to help you meet the demands of your customers. The most widely recognized standard for quality management today is the ISO 9001.
According to BSI, business standards experts, “ISO 9001 is all about keeping customers satisfied… [It] will help you to continually monitor and manage quality across all operations.” BSI goes on to say that ISO 9001 will help you meet customer needs, improve efficiencies, enhance operational performance and profits, win more loyal customers, and broaden your business opportunities. A QMS is a great way to keep track of what your customers want and deliver it in the long run.
3. Earn Their Trust
Earning trust is a difficult process, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for customer loyalty. It’s a long process of engaging on social media, respecting the customer, listening to feedback, creating relevant content, connecting consistently, and above all, maintaining honesty and transparency. In business, transparency is the best policy. Don’t try to trick your customers into doing anything. A tricky call to action might get you one time business, but it won’t get you return business. By stating exactly what you mean and intend to do for the customer outright, you’ll earn the trust you deserve.
4. The Customer Really Is Always Right
It’s been said time and time again, and it’s still true. The customer is always right, and if you treat them as such, they’ll come to respect your brand for it. It doesn’t matter if you lose a little money because you are accommodating a customer. If you go the extra mile to make a customer happy, they’ll come back, and they’ll tell their friends.
5. Follow Up with Appreciation
Finally, when you finish a customer transaction, make sure they know how much you appreciate them and their business. Customers return because they have positive experiences with a business, and what’s more positive than a simple thank you? This show of gratitude can come in the form of a friendly email, or it might come in the form of a discount or coupon. Either way, the customer will feel appreciated, and you’ll be paving the way for a customer that will look forward to doing business with you again.