Building relationships with your customers and providing the best customer care possible is absolutely key to your success. As a small business owner, you are incredibly busy managing all aspects of your company, but you mustn’t ever lose focus on what keeps your business afloat: your customers.
Your focus on customer care and nurturing relationships will improve their overall experience working with your business. If they’re happy with you, they’ll start spreading the word to their own network and that positive word-of-mouth marketing is priceless.
Here are some ways you can create a customer-focused culture within your business:
Be genuine with your interaction with customers.
Whether it’s in person, on the phone or through an on hold message, everything you communicate to your customers should be genuine and real. Be careful not to act like a nameless, faceless business but one that is interested in each individual that crosses your path. Talk to them as you would a friend, not how you would write a press release.
Listen to what your customers have to say.
Unhappy customers and complaints can be stressful and difficult to handle, but how you handle them can mean the difference between resolving an issue and keeping a customer or having your company raked over the coals in a negative online review. The key is listening to what they have to say, respecting them and trying your hardest to resolve the issue. Chances are that customer can give you some valuable feedback on how to avoid making those same mistakes again.
Ask your customers what they want from your business.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, so providing them with the type of products and services they need and want is obviously critical to your success. Find out what they want by gathering feedback from them. You could put out surveys, hold focus groups, use social media, send out email and web forms.
Build trust by keeping your customers in the loop.
Remember that one negative experience can completely erase a dozen positive ones. Keep your customers in the know with any changes to your business, products or services before they get a negative surprise. Use newsletters, e-blasts, social media and other forms of advertising to alert your customers of any changes that might affect them.
Always follow up on your promises.
Build trust and dependability with your customers and target audience by always keeping your word. If you are making promises with your products and services, make sure the customer is getting what they were guaranteed. Failing to meet their expectations or giving them unrealistic promises in your messaging will do a lot of damage.
Never forget to thank your customers.
Your customers are keeping you in business, so they deserve your utmost gratitude. Be kind, courteous and thankful in all of your customer interactions whether in-person, on the telephone or through messages on hold. Make sure that every thank-you that comes from your company is specifically crafted for each customer and their situation. Beyond actually saying thank-you to your customers, you can send out thank you cards, hold appreciation events or even send a special gift thanking them for their business at the end of each year.
Creating a strong customer-focused culture within your company is a great opportunity to gain and retain more business. Where negative word-of-mouth can destroy your business, positive experiences shared can help increase your bottom line. Plus, the act of genuinely caring for your customers is the most cost-effective marketing tool you have.
The average North American executive spends an average of 15 minutes a day on hold. That’s 9 days a year.