They say you can’t please everyone all of the time, but you can please someone some of the time … but in the case of sales and customer service, pleasing people is your job. So why is it so time-consuming, frustrating and difficult to find customers who stick?
Customer loyalty is a difficult topic in itself – given that customers and their experiences are so varied. It adds up to a potential headache for small business owners. But there are ways to make it more understandable and even, dare I say it … better.
Serve first, sell second
Customers are smarter and better informed than ever. They expect business with you to be hassle free and gratifying for them. If you don’t deliver, they’ll find another source.
Don’t forget to listen to the customers rather than talking at them. According to Leadership Mentor Michael Hyatt, we should always remember “Marketing is really just about sharing your passion.” When it comes down to it, the less you worry about the big “sell,” the more your customer will feel a connection. Conversation can begin – more you share your passion the more your customer wants to be involved, wants to buy in, and wants to be a part of it.
Seek out customer complaints
This may seem counterproductive but is truly a great way to build trust and head off any potential catastrophes. After all, bad news travels fast! Generally, only 10 percent of complaints ever get articulated by clients. And over time, complaints turn to resentments and become highly negative. Ask what you/we can do better and customers will appreciate it. communicate regularly with customers, weaving successes into case studies and other content that showcases exactly how their respective companies provides value and solves problems. Focusing on the problems customers are having emphasizes a your expertise in the field.
Responsiveness is closely tied to the perception of good service and technology has grown expectations of immediate response. Quick response has become more critical. We are in a digital era and are expected to be available quickly – whether the customer has good news or a complaint. Make sure that you have a process in place to hear out the customer, make amends if needed (or accept praise!) and continue the open conversation. It is amazing what a difference just being available can make!
In fact, years of experience tells CEO Tom Cates that “Strong customer relationships drive sales, sustainability, and growth.” And isn’t every relationship full of ups and downs – but also is built upon trust. Get your clients and customers to trust in YOU and trust in your product. They will come back for more.