Great Service leads to Great Loyalty

October 1, 2012

Free phone with new service, free installation with new service, free everything with new service! Isn’t this most companies’ offers these days?
Recently, I saw just the ad for a new cable service offered by our provider and wanted more information. I have been with this company for five years and thought; surely they will give me the same deal that they are giving new customers. Wrong! I was actually quoted a higher price. When I asked why, they said the deals are for new service only. So, does my cable company only value new customers? That appears to be what their actions were saying until I spoke with a sane customer service representative and he put it in perspective, why would we not be good to a customer that has been loyal to our company for 5 years and good to a customer that has not had any proven loyalty. That makes no sense. I left the conversation feeling appreciated and valued and remain a customer. To top it off, my cable company increased the value of our relationship to them by 15%. Doesn’t making more $$$ on your bottom line without having to cold call and solicit new customers seems like a good plan?

So what are the steps to providing good customer service and making your customers feel appreciated and want to do more business with your company?

1. Meet with them 1 on 1:

It may seem old fashion, but your customers will appreciate your time spent with them. Relationship is the name of the game. By meeting with your client frequently, you will establish a bond and assurance that you’re working for them and want what is best for their company. Be calm and confident and ask them their needs. Let them talk and most importantly, LISTEN, and if a customer has a negative experience, an email is the last thing they want to see, but if you meet with them and offer solutions, you will most certainly walk away with a better situation.

2. This is 2012, react fast!

If a customer has a need, respond quickly. Not doing so, implies you feel they are not important and not worth your time. I don’t need a great stat to prove this point. This is self-explanatory, if I call a company with a question and don’t receive some sort of response in the next couple of hours, I will move on. Even if you’re not able to meet their need right away, let the customer know you’re working on it. Anticipating a need is an even bigger bonus, and always appreciated.

3. “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

As the old saying, being friendly and relatable is the key to any good client relationship. That being said, we are all busy, and I can’t count how many times I have had a salesperson in my office trying to “relate” with me only to go on for an hour with their problems. Most people are very nice and will never say how annoying they find your intrusion on their time, but if you focus on your client, and get to know them and less on you, you will have a long partnership.

4. Go Old School
These days it’s easy to send a quick email or Facebook message thanking someone for their business. A couple of weeks ago, a vendor of ours went “old school” and wrote a hand written thank you note to us. It made me pause and appreciate the extra effort they gave. Did they include a thank you product, a free offer for service, or discounts on an item? Nope! All that was needed was a tried and true Thank You!

5. Honor your promises.
This will get a business in trouble every time. If you tell a customer that you will do a service for them and don’t complete the service or it is delayed, it is hard to build a trustworthy relationship. Be realistic on your abilities and time. If you are swamped, have equipment malfunctions, or any other issues, relate that to the client ahead of time. We have heard several stories about vendors promising the product, receiving the payment and never able to finish the project. On the other hand, when a service is done on time and as expected more business is sure to follow.

Where we live, we have a pharmacy that continues to grow every year. How do they do it and compete against the Walgreen’s and CVS in town? Customer service! They value the importance of their current customers, and because of this great care, they have a high referral rate. This may be a face paced world, but I think we all still want some good hometown hospitality. Are you showing it to your customers?

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