While word-of-mouth referrals can drive you towards success over time, rumors of poor customer service will spread like wildfire and burn your business down in the process. And it doesn’t matter what service you provide or what product you sell: If you are providing poor customer service, then customers won’t stick around for the experience. To provide a truly great customer experience, there are some key details you can’t leave out. Here are a few of our favorites:
Know Your Talents
You wouldn’t be running a business if you weren’t somewhat talented at what you do, so focus your efforts on your specific trade. Play to your strengths. If a customer asks for something you don’t offer, or something that you’re just not good at, you can still use this moment as an opportunity to increase loyalty. Remind the customer what you can do for them, and then refer them to someone with a specialty in what they’re looking for. They’ll appreciate the gesture, even if it means taking their business elsewhere, and they’ll likely be back when they do need your services. That’s part of providing an excellent customer experience.
It’s easy to tell when you walk into a business whether the person minding the store wants you there or not, isn’t it? Have you ever stepped inside a business and felt like you were interrupting the sales person’s special me time? There’s no easier way to lose a sale than by wearing a frown or demonstrating signs of disrespect. Texting while a customer is trying to ask for help, or just letting your bad mood affect your business, are guaranteed ways to disappoint. Always put on a friendly face, and be responsive to the needs of your customers. Your personality will set the tone of the experience, and customers will be able to tell if you don’t put forward your best. When it comes to what you’re selling, you should be the most excited person in the room and as excited to help potential customers.
Listening to your customers means paying attention to what they’re saying, as well as what they are not saying. Be willing to talk with customers about their concerns and ask for feedback. Also, pay attention to body language and facial expressions. Some people will nod and accept whatever suggestions you might have, but their facial expressions could suggest disapproval.
More importantly, when you listen carefully to your customers, you can offer personalized deals that make them feel valued. Perhaps you are a studio photographer, and one of your clients is always interested in a snowy background for pictures; schedule them in for a last-minute shoot on a day with fresh snowfall. Maybe you operate a fine wine and spirits store, and a regular patron’s favorite wine is out of stock. Set a bottle aside when you do have it in stock, for the next time that customer comes in. As our communication rule #2 suggests, these small gestures will show that you pay attention and will make for a memorable experience overall.
Offering a discount to people who have visited your business since the beginning is another way to provide a fantastic customer experience. You can also offer deals to select customers a day or two before they are offered to the public, just to let your most devoted customers know that you truly appreciate their business.
Delivering great customer experience takes work, but it’s so important to the success of your business, that it’s something we’ll talk about often. You have to be willing to go that extra mile. Your effort will be noticed on a daily and long-term basis. Excellent customer experience comes from understanding that you don’t just run a business; you are building relationships.
Do you have examples of how you deliver great customer experiences? We’d love to hear about them! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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