No business exists without clients or customers. In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s difficult to attract customers and dangerous to take them for granted – and frankly, they deserve better!
Don’t ignore your customers. Give them what they deserve.
A digitised loyalty card scheme may be beyond your means, but what about a humble, branded cardboard card that you stamp when a customer spends money with you? Or a simple accumulation of loyalty points on their online account with every purchase?
Discount codes, special shopping evenings, invitation-only events, promotional prices on related products from another company – all these perks can make a customer feel valued and rewarded.
Of course, you should always treat your customers with respect. But that goes beyond the way you communicate with them on the phone, face to face or by email. Do you respect them at other times, too? Do you respect their data?
At some point, we’ve all given our phone number or email address to a business and then swiftly wished we hadn’t, as we’re bombarded with junk mail and spam.
If you really have to give customer data out to third parties, ensure you only do so if they’ve opted to allow it – don’t make it something they have to deliberately opt out of. Make ‘no thank you, I don’t want offers from third parties’ the default option. And don’t bombard them with promotional mail yourself unless that’s what they want.
Maintain client confidentiality, too. Don’t gossip about your customers.
Share their tips, triumphs and testimonials and thank them for good reviews and positive comments. Respond to them when they tag you on social media. And perhaps most importantly, respond quickly to negative reviews and complaints.
However unfair you think their criticisms may be, take time to consider them calmly. What could you have done to avoid or mitigate the situation that led to the complaint or bad review? How can you improve so that it doesn’t occur again?
By responding quickly, you’re showing you recognise they have an issue and that you want to work quickly to resolve it. By trying to fix things and/or compensate the customer, you’re showing them you take their comments seriously and are dedicated to keeping them happy.
If this occurs publicly online or even during a counter confrontation, this may make you cringe. But if you keep your cool and handle it well, you may impress potential customers that witness the exchange – and you may keep your original customer too. They may even recommend you to family and friends – I’ve heard it happen!
Treat your customers right and you’ll raise your reputation – and your chances of retaining customers.