As a business owner it is your responsibility to build customer loyalty – through programs and incentives that are genuine.
Yes, customers want fast service but they also want your attention and want you to take time with them. A major complaint is that no one really seems to care anymore, and when you provide superior customer service and follow-up with customer concerns, you can start to build customer loyalty.
Automated phone systems, voice mail, email and other technology has replaced the personal touch when it comes to customer service. No wonder, customer frustration is on the rise. Customers want to feel important and appreciated. If they don’t, they will move on.
Try sending a thank you card customized with your business name and a funny picture. See some examples here.
The sitcom “Cheers” was a classic example. Their beer was no different than the beer served in another bar down the street. So why was this bar so popular with the patrons? You guessed it, the interaction between the employees and the customers. Appreciated customers keep coming back.
Did you know that 68% of customers who stop doing business with a company leave because of an attitude or indifference by a SINGLE employee? Simply stated, employees are the biggest reason you lose customers. In the case of a self employed business, take a look at what you are doing or better yet, saying. Every employee from the CEO down is part of the customer service chain and responsible for customer satisfaction. If you think customer service is not in your job description, think again. Anyone that benefits from the work you do, puts you in the customer service category.
Here are the most popular reasons why a company loses customers.
- had a negative attitude
- gave the wrong information
- was not empowered and wouldn’t take responsibility
- was rude
- wouldn’t listen
- was not knowledgeable about the products
- got defensive and started the blame game
- didn’t tell me about hidden charges
- transferred my call all over the company
- provided no follow through
- sent me to the wrong department
- ignored me
- put me on “hold” and forgot about me
- did not return my phone message or emails
- and on . . . and on
Most behaviors listed above can be treated with employee training. It is no surprise that customers leave because they are frustrated with the lack of experience or professionalism from an employee. What experience are your customers receiving from “the Director of First Impressions?” What about the contact with other employees? Will your customers come back? Will they tell others about you?
Employee mistakes? Mistakes do not drive customers away, people do. It is the manner in which a mistake was handled that will drive a customer away. Customers do not demand perfection, but they should be treated with respect and kindness when a mistake occurs, even if it is the customer’s mistake.
Invest in your employees with customer service training. They need to know how to respectfully treat a customer. Employees will then be loyalty-focused and know how to take action. It will make the difference between building customer loyalty and losing a customer.
Customer loyalty is earned. Commit to delivering outstanding customer service with every customer, every day!