Any business without customers is like any car without wheels, it just won’t go anywhere. A solid business plan, like a solid car-frame with supped up parts, is grounded if it can’t acquire and maintain a loyal customer base. And this day in age, with technology booming and economies crumbling, a business’s ability to keep up with and satisfy relentless customer demand is key to a company’s financial success. And especially during these tough economic times, when money is tight for all of us and pinching pennies barely keeps our heads above water, great customer service is leaps and bounds beyond just being nice. A happy customer leaves happy. But an appreciative, happy customer comes back for return business and recommends your services to others. In any avenue of business, the following four customer service commandments will facilitate you forming a steady, loyal return-customer base:
1. Ditch the pitch and listen
Just because you’ve got quota to meet doesn’t mean you should stop listening to the needs of your customers. Most customer service representatives are too busy trying to sell something and too wrapped up in the pitch, that they neglect the true needs of the customer they’re futilely attempting to help. Nonetheless, all that results is a failed sell, an unfilled quota, and an unsatisfied, non-returning customer.
Let the customer do all the talking, let them tell you what they need. And, in the end, if you can work your pitch into what they’re looking for, no harm no foul. But as the most integral source of your business’s revenue, their needs trump your desire to sell them on a lame business pitch.
2. Promises aren’t made to be broken
If you can’t do it, don’t mention it. Don’t try to make a sell based on empty promises. Making a promise that you can’t follow through on might satisfy that customer’s immediate needs, but upon realizing that they’ll only be disappointed next time they seek your services, they’ll surely not return to your establishment. And worse, they might persuade other potential customers from seeking out your business to fulfill their needs. Credibility and integrity are the two most fundamental aspects of a business that can make or break its financial success. And filling a customer with false hope will only assure you financial failure.
3. Don’t step back, step up
Efficiently and adequately training your staff will guarantee you consistent customer satisfaction. There’s nothing worse than walking into a business as a customer and being passed around from employee to employee because only one person handles your specific need. Hiring and training an entire staff to be knowledgeable about each aspect of the business is a sure-fire way of preventing customers from leaving with needs still unmet.
4. Because the customer holds the purse strings, the customer is always right
Working in customer service businesses can be headache, especially when dealing with customers that are more than a handful. However, at the end of the day, more customers means more money for your business. And no matter how big of headache they might be, their needs should always come first. Whatever you can do or compromise to make them appreciative and satisfied is worth however many Tylenol you may need to pop later. Knowing that you’ve gone out of your way to accommodate them, even the most disgruntled of customers will return to your establishment, solidifying the loyal return-customer base that you need to insure your business is a success.
About the Author: Carol Montrose is a freelance writer.