And if you think it’s not, go back and read the title again.
When you are the customer, who is it all about? You of course. That’s why it’s no different for your customers. They want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and at a price at which they want it. If you aren’t ready, willing and able to give it to them, they’ll find another company that can.
For starters, make it easy for them to reach you, to talk to you and to do business with you. If they call you on the phone and are put on hold with the message, “Your call is very important to us, please hold on”, what message is that sending to your customer? Have a real, live person promptly answer your phone. And make sure that the employee knows how to properly answer the phone. Do they sound friendly and professional? Or do they sound annoyed because they were just interrupted by the call?
Use your customer’s name and give them yours. There’s no better way to build rapport and personalize an interaction than by using your customer’s name. Dale Carnegie said “There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of thine own name.” People feel special when other people say their name. It makes them feel connected to you.
Ask your customers questions. Don’t assume you know what they want. They rely on us to provide solutions to their problems. If we don’t have all the facts, how can we provide the most suitable recommendation?
Do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to call someone back by 3:00pm, do it. Even if you don’t have the information you promised your customer, call them by 3:00pm and let them know you are still working on getting it for them. If you promised your customer delivery by Thursday, have the product there by Tuesday. And if you know it won’t be there by Thursday, call them in advance and let them know.
Thank your customers – every time. Remember, they have a choice as to who they do business with. And if you don’t value their business and appreciate them, they will find someone who will.
There are no-cost ways to show customers your appreciation. What are they? Well, you’re a resource to your customers. What if you were a go-to person for them as well? If you supply promotional products, do you just want to be someone who can put their company name on a coffee mug? Or do you want to be the person your customer calls when they need a recommendation to another type of business because they know you are so well connected? You bring a lot of value to your customers. Show interest in your customers’ business. Celebrate their successes and help them through the tough times. How do you know what’s going on? Ask: How else can I help you? What else do you need? What keeps you up at night? I know a lot of people. Let me be a resource to you. Do you ever say that to your customer? You should, it’s important. And you never know what doors those questions can open.
Make it all about the customer, and the customer will reward you with their business. They’ll feel good about doing business with you. And they’ll tell others about you and your company and the great service you provided. And that, my friend, is the best way to grow your business – by referrals from the people who are already doing business with you.
After all, it is all about the customer. Because without them, we don’t have a business.
Randi Busse is President of Workforce Development Group, a coaching and training organization that specializes in improving the customer experience, increasing customer retention, and maximizing revenue through cross-selling and up-selling.