What is your customer service strategy this season?
A friend was excited about the new farm market in the area. Along with accolades about the ample parking, courteous clerks, lovely atmosphere and good quality products, she held up her hand to stop me in my tracks and said, “Oh, and one more thing, they treat their customers really well!”
Ever wonder what your customers are telling other people about your business? Unfortunately some retailers with a good base of loyal followers don’t feel the need to always strategize for even better customer service.
The difficult lesson some of these owners and managers have learned is to stand still and ignore customer service principles is to fall prey to a competitor who is constantly planning and executing exceptional customer service.
People often express the concern strategizing for good customer service is difficult and time-consuming — and, does it really pay off in the end? In the business world, exceptional customer service remains one of the key factors of success. More is written and discussed about how to get and keep customers than many other marketing concepts. Year after year, books, social media apps and seminars encourage business owners to put the customer first and thereby strengthen business. Exceptional customer service boils down to three key factors: Recognizing the importance of customer service to your business success; planning for continued customer satisfaction; and gaining feedback you need to improve and stay ahead of your competitors.
Developing good customer service is pledging to meet a customer’s expectations about your business and your product or service. Your advertising and marketing outlines the benefits of buying your product or trying your service, but if you do not deliver on those promises, you have given your customers license to go elsewhere. Simply, fewer customers can equal fewer sales and less overall profit.
You may feel you have studied your customers well and know exactly what they want, but customer expectations and needs follow cycles and trends. Customers placing orders online have different needs than those coming to your retail location. Different expectations follow age, income status, lifestyle and many other factors as well. If you cannot keep up with what your customers expect in goods and services, you cannot adequately plan for future sales strategies.
That is where getting customer feedback comes in. Getting input from customers demonstrates your strengths and weaknesses. From informal chats with customers to focus groups and surveys, finding out what you are doing well and where you need improvement opens the door to better customer relations and overall success. Put yourself in the place of your customers and discover what you would improve, change or keep the same.
Sales data and analytics are good frameworks to let you know how your business is doing and where you are meeting your goals, but interacting with customers and getting good feedback goes to the heart of why you are in business to begin with. You have a product or service which is second to none and you want the world to know.
When a customer talks about your business, make sure they stop another person and say, “Oh, just one more thing…” and do all you can to make certain that one more thing is something special about your customer service.
The above information is for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.