It's no secret that you need customers in order to grow your company. Without them, all you have is a good idea. But attracting customers is only part of the equation. You have to figure out how to build loyalty and create an experience that makes them want to continue doing business with you. That means developing a winning customer service strategy. The basis of such a strategy should answer these fundamental questions:
- How do you expect to be treated as a customer?
- What will the total experience feel like when customers come to you?
- How do your actions, attitudes and behaviors reflect your customer service philosophy?
Train your employeesEmphasize the importance of customer service to all employees, beginning with the interview process and continuing throughout their employment tenure. Send employees to customer service training programs and seminars.
Hire service-minded employeesKeep customer service in mind during the hiring process and consider if candidates can meet your standards of service. Once employees are on board, keep them focused on customer service.
Thank customers early and oftenWhen customers make a major purchase or when they make an inquiry about your products or services, follow up with a sincere thank you. A handwritten thank you note or an email can do wonders to create goodwill with customers.
Respond quickly to customer comments and complaintsWhen potential customers call or email with inquiries about your products or services, a fast response is a must. Late responses can irritate customers and prompt them to go to your competitors for their needs. Likewise, when existing customers contact you with a problem or a return, respond rapidly.
Emphasize phone courtesyThe way you and your employees interact with customers on the phone can cement your relationship or sever it permanently. Good phone techniques include answering the phone with the name of your business, the employee's name and a simple "How may I help you?"
Encourage customer feedbackMake customers feel important by asking for their input. Survey customers about your products, services and customer service.
Recognize customer serviceMotivate employees by offering awards and recognition when they provide top-notch customer service.
- Establish customer-friendly policies, such as money-back guarantees.
- Keep customers impressed by offering unexpected extras, such as free samples or free shipping.
- Greet each and every customer who comes into your store. On the Web, welcome registered customers with a personalized message.