How to get loyalty and respect from your customers
Quite simply, your relationship with your customers is vital to your success and your long-term growth. Some companies don’t always treat their customers as well as they should, and unfortunately, this can result in loss of customers and lack of brand loyalty. Trust, respect, and loyalty are essential to any business, but they are most important to any small or new business. If you can get this relationship right, it can lead to one of the best (and free) forms of advertising available; word of mouth recommendations.
Treat Your Customers with Respect
Happy customers are more likely to tell their friends about their experience. On average, a satisfied customer will tell six friends about it, but, an unhappy customer will tell many more. This statistic means you need to be acutely aware of what your customers want and how to keep them happy. One of the things that your customers want above all else is to be listened to and understood. It means if they email or contact you on social media, they expect a reply from you as soon as possible. If they get an automated system that tells them you will get back to them in 3-4 working days, it will upset and annoy them. Try to have a responsive and understanding approach to your customer’s query. Tell them you have received their inquiry and that you will look into it right away. Give them a time frame such as that day for you to get back to them or pass them onto another person that can talk to them on the phone. It is this type of immediate service that will give you a good reputation with your customers.
Remain Patient and Not Rude
In a survey, a third of customers said that they had experienced rude customer service at least once per month. Of that third, 58 percent went on to tell their friends about the experience. This type of bad word-of-mouth recommendations can be damaging to your business and lead to a downturn in sales. That is why you need to keep your customer service team well trained and able to cope with all that your customers can do. No-one likes to be spoken to rudely, and likewise, your staff has no reason to listen to such rudeness from your customers. However, all should be done to calm the customer down and try to resolve the issues. One of the most effective techniques is to let the customer talk about their problem; this enables them to get it all out of their system and so can work to make them a little calmer. You might then be able to find out what the issue is and try to fix it for them. In most cases, complaints and angry customers have come from a delay in helping them with a problem, so if you can be quick to reply and actively deal with their issue, it should reduce the complaints you receive.
Always Listen to What Your Customers are Saying
Creating a good relationship with your customers is a two-way street. You both have to listen to each other and understand what each other wants. There are many ways that you can achieve this, but the best way is to compile customer feedback. You should use all the avenues you can to try and engage with people and find out what you are doing right and wrong. It is true that most comments and feedback is negative because people often only say something when its gone wrong. However, there are many people who will let you know what they think if you give them the opportunity. Some of the channels you can use include surveys, focus groups, customer service, email, and social media. The last one, in particular, can produce the best results because many customers are always on social media. You need to keep your questions short and to the point. Your customers don’t want to read a big, complicated question; they will get bored. The other important point about feedback is actively taking it on board and showing your customers that their opinions matter to you. Tell your customers what you are doing to fix issues they have had and thank those that have given you feedback whether it is positive or negative. If you request feedback and don’t do anything that it suggests, then your customers will feel undervalued.
Satisfy Your Customers with Support and Special Offers
If you get complaints about your customer service team, you should be looking to rectify their problems as soon as possible. You also want to offer them free products or money off vouchers as a way of keeping them loyal to your brand. In many cases, the offer of a voucher or other deal can be the turning point in your customer’s estimation of your company. It is no coincidence that 81 percent of companies that offered a great customer experience are outperforming their competition. In a world where customer service plays such an important role, making yours the best it can be could be the difference between you and your rivals. As well as customer service, you should also be offering special deals and regular offers to your customers. There is little customers like more than a special offer or a sale, so making sure you do these regularly will help you cement your relationship with your customers.
Build Trust by Telling the Truth
Some companies in the past have tried to keep bad decisions or incidents from their customers in an attempt to save their reputation. However, this type of tactic rarely works and usually results in the company’s reputation becoming more damaged. That is why you need to be honest with your customers and tell them when things happen whether it’s good or bad. For example, if you have taken orders and then discovered that your supplier has failed, you need to be open and honest about this to your customers. Offer them the opportunity of a refund or another product if they wish, but don’t try to dismiss it or delay any announcement. Your customers will be more likely to stay loyal to a company that tells them the truth, then one that lies to them. Many big companies have felt the effects of having their reputation and their customers trust damaged.
Follow Through on Your Promises
As well as being lied to and ignored, customers also like companies to follow up on their promises. If one of your customer service staff has made a promise to a customer to call back that day or fix their problem, then they need to follow through on that promise. If they don’t, that customer won’t trust your company again. If this happens to too many customers, the long-term reputation of your company will be damaged. You need to train your staff not to promise something they cannot deliver; your customers will appreciate their honesty and be realistic about the outcome.
Look After All of Your Customers
You will most likely get customers from all walks of life, and you need to be sensitive to them all and their needs. For example, if you get a query from a customer who is deaf, then you need to have the technology and the skills in place to deal with that. If you go the extra mile for them, they will appreciate it and may become a loyal customer. They may also share your kindness with others in similar situations. It is this attitude that you want to spread to all aspects of your company, your website, your communication and your recruitment as well.
Invest in the Future
Your company needs to be the best it can be so that it competes with your rivals. Apart from your customer service and your reputation, you also need to make sure that your infrastructure can cope with a growing company. Even if it means that you need to take out small loans or prestamos, then this can be a good investment. It means looking at your website and seeing if it needs to be upgraded and also checking your computers and payment system to keep it up to date. If a new payment method is developed, try to incorporate it into your payment system if you can. Your customers will appreciate the convenience of being able to use the latest technology. It doesn’t stop there; there are many other ways that you can improve your service. Look at new ways of delivering and distributing your products so that your customers get them sooner. Your customers are also concerned about the planet, so why not show them that your company is as well by trying to reduce waste and improve power consumption?
Your customers are the most important part of your company, and you need to show them that you regard them with respect and appreciation. It is something that has never been so important in business because customers now have a wide range of channels open to them to praise and disparage your company.