We have been noticing and experiencing a tremendous spin on the customer service skills of employees. We mean that in a good way! They seem to be more attentive and engaged lately.
- Recently at a local restaurant, we observed an employee whose soul purpose was to open the front door for every customer coming and going. We actually watched the front door for quite awhile and that employee never left her post.
- Another example was at a theater we recently attended. There was an employee “on post” that actually acknowledged all the patrons one-on-one as we left, and thanked us for coming to the movies. That’s a first.
- What about fast food? Employees are getting friendlier, look happy and seem to genuinely enjoy the interaction they have with their customers! (Well, most of them.)
It is so refreshing that companies are finally getting on board by understanding the necessity of creating “the customer experience” by training and hiring the right people for customer service positions. Why the change? Competition maybe? Whatever it is . . . we are loving it!
However there is a flip side. Companies really need to embrace the fact that up to 70% of their employees may no longer be committed to the company or to providing quality customer care. They are just going through the motions. Identify these employees and address it. Unhappy employees have a direct reflection on the bottom line, so it’s critical that your “front line” employees are committed to providing excellent customer care. The “I don’t care” or “it’s not my job” attitude can hurt a business in a huge way. When you want to stay in touch with the customers that mean the most to your business, we suggest setting up a greeting card program where you can thank your customers with no strings attached.
10 Surefire Ways to Keep Your Customers
1. Make Your Customers Feel Important – If you know their name, use it. If there is any personal information you know about them, talk about it. Why do customers leave and go to the competition? It’s not because of your products or services. The #1 reason businesses lose their customers is because they neglect them and fail to show their appreciation.
2. Thank your Customers Every Chance You Get – Customers usually have many options on where they want to take their business. There is a reason they choose your company over the competition. Thank them for their business, and do it often!
3. Know Your Products and Services – Customers want to work with knowledgeable employees, so learn everything you can about your products/services so you can be better equipped to answer their questions. Continued training should always be in the forefront. Be completely open minded during training classes and be willing to learn and share. You many think you know it all, but guess what . . .
4. Understand the Cost of Losing One Customer – When you lose just one customer, you are missing out on a lifetime opportunity of profitability with that customer. The more customers leaving, the more revenue you stand to lose. Win them back?? Not that easy, just look at the time, effort and marketing costs associated in getting their business back. Simply stated, HANG ON TO EVERY CUSTOMER!
5. Pay Attention to Your Customer’s Needs – Why does your customer continue to do business with you? Ask questions to find out what’s most important and then listen carefully. Use that information during training sessions to make sure all employees are on board.
6. Keep Your Promises to Your Customers – If you need to do some research to complete a customer’s transaction, follow up as quickly as possible. Do what you say you are going to do. In other words, if they are waiting for you to call them back, make sure you do it before they call you!
7. Make it Easy for Your Customers To Complain – Seriously, this is vital to correcting current problems or issues within the company. When you have an open ear and listen intently, most times the customer will be respectful with their complaints. Just think how much time, money and effort you will save on eliminating customer surveys! Periodically ask your customer, “What can we do different?”
8. Reward Your Loyal Customers with Generosity – We don’t mean you have to send them a gift certficate to Neiman Marcus or Ruth Chris. Acknowledge them by going the extra mile; bend a rule, do something that exceeds their expectations. Tell them you appreciate their business (face-to-face). It’s affectionately called the “WOW” experience.
9. Maintain a Sense of Humor and Have Fun at Work – People want to do business with people that genuinely love what they do. It makes customers feel good and they tell others. How great is that? Laugh a little (or a lot) with your customers. It’s a great communication builder. We think this is where you will receive the most milage and dollars.
10. Never Take Your Customers for Granted – They are the reason you have a job or a business. Remember customers can come and go whenever they choose . . . and very quickly without any warning or obligation to tell you ahead of time!
Treat your customers well and continually show your appreciation for their business. Taking care of your customers is the single most important job you have. Don’t run the risk of losing them!