Everyone wants to feel special and connected, even your customers

My top three reasons to repeat business with an organisation is 1) quality product or reputation, 2) ease of location and parking, and 3) top-notch customer service. If I’m not greeted with a smile when I walk in the door or approach you, then sorry, but the relationship is on very thin ground. Good service is worth its weight in gold. Customers not only pay for the product or service, they pay for good customer service with a smile.

Helpful service is just as important. If something goes wrong – and which business has escaped issues with customers: zero – then the way the staff handle it determines whether you keep that customer or not.

Let’s face it, if your customer service is poor, then it doesn’t matter how well cooked your salmon steak is or how renowned you are in your field. If you have a bad attitude or poor customer service then there is a high chance the customer won’t come back.

In particular, businesses with strong competition must put customer service as a very high priority. It can be your point of difference. Add some kind of customer loyalty program, give your customers half-price on their birthday or throw regular events to create a customer experience, and you’re well on your way to building a solid and loyal customer base.

American author and entrepreneur Ann Handley said, “Make the customer the hero of your story”. Businesses need to keep this in mind always. Get to know your customer and also encourage feedback on your product and service. They feel heard and respected and you have free customer feedback.

Here are my top five tips to ensure good customer service:

1. Look them in the eye and SMILE. This is important because nothing is worse than a grumpy sales assistant. It’s an immediate turn-off.

2. Don’t go straight for the “Hello can I help you find something” or “Can I help you?” because that is focusing on your business straight away. Focus on them first and ask how they are.

3. If you are in the service industry, ask about their specific needs. Take the time to get to know what they want and if you don’t provide it, kindly refer them to someone who can help. They will remember how kind you were to refer them onto someone else and they’ll more likely refer others back to you.

4. If a customer has had a bad experience, then it’s important to sort it out to their satisfaction. Negative reviews on social media are rife and you want to avoid this as much as possible. If you were in the wrong, an apology and solution is crucial. Offer them a free or discounted service next time.

5. Make your business a great place to be. If you’re a retail store, hold events, information nights or fun workshops and invite your customers and the locals as VIPs.

Don’t forget that clients and customers are the reason you’re operating at all, so look after them and they’ll look after you. It’s Business 101.

Anna Abignano, Director, www.allaboutpr.com.au

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