Corporate Cupid: Love Your Customers So Your Customers Love You
Ah, Valentine's Day! As it approaches, our hearts swell for those we hold dear. We think fondly of all we've shared together, and we dream of how the relationship can become even deeper and more meaningful. Valentine's Day is the perfect time to re-evaluate how we can be better for those whose esteem we hold in the highest regard.
I am talking, of course, about our customers.
Without customers, where would you be? They are the lifeblood of your small business; without them, you don't HAVE a business. So it stands to reason that you'd better show some love to them if you want them to reciprocate in this relationship. THINQ has a few ideas on how to love your customers on Valentine's Day and beyond. Just be sure to respect their boundaries, okay? Nobody likes a creeper.
Fix What's Wrong
Handling customer complaints in the appropriate manner is one of the most valuable customer service strategies there is. Dealing with a disgruntled customer is an art form, and it's one you'd better get good at if you want to maximize the success of your small business.
1. Listen. No, really listen. Ask them to tell you what's wrong and don't interrupt them. When they're done, repeat the information back to them in order to: 1) make sure you understand -- specifically understand--what they're saying, and 2) show them you were paying attention.
2. Focus on finding a solution instead of placing blame. If you determine that an error truly has been made by your business, apologize for it, reassure the customer that you will fix the problem, and then FIX IT. Fast.
Rely on Your Regulars
If you've managed to draw some regular customers, congratulations: You must be doing something right. In addition to providing a certain amount of reliable volume to your business, regulars provide great word-of-mouth advertising.
It's not uncommon for business owners to develop a more personal, one-on-one relationship with regulars. If you have that kind of relationship with some of your customers, it's a great way to do gather some intel on what your business can do better. Ask your regulars what they like about your products and services, specifically. What areas are you falling short? What would make them more likely to increase the amount of business they do with you? Reward their information (and their loyalty) with perks like product discounts and free shipping.
Fight for Them
If you know of customers that have stopped doing business with your company, don't just cut your losses. Contact them and let them know how much you have appreciated their business. Ask them why they left, and work with them to resolve the issue. You can't win 'em all back, but if you address their concerns and meet their needs, you can win some of 'em.
Can you think of other ways you can love your customers? Tell us about your customer service strategies in the comments!
Image credit: torbakhopper