Building a loyal customer base is critical to the success of almost any small business. Yet it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. Read on for some simple ways to ensure that you’re providing a high level of customer satisfaction to your clients. So that they’ll return to do business with you again and again.
Establish Convenient Hours
People like to know you’ll be there for them when they need your services. So it’s wise to take a customer-first approach when setting your business hours. Put some thought into determining when your client base will be seeking you out. Build your schedule around your customers’ needs, not your own. If you primarily serve other businesses, you’ll generally want to be available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If working folks are your bread and butter, later nights and weekend hours are likely a must. Pay attention to when your clients want to do business and adapt to meet that need; you might consider getting input from your regulars to confirm you’re open when it’s most convenient for them.
If a customer is dialing you up for help ASAP, the last thing they want to deal with is an endlessly ringing phone. While you may be busy assisting other customers, those calling into your business may feel neglected. It may be necessary to hire more staff to ensure that important calls don’t fall through the cracks, but it’s sometimes hard to predict exactly when you’ll need a helping hand. For many business owners, investing in answering service software is a popular way to solve this problem. There are online services that provide 24/7 phone operators to ensure that no incoming call is ever missed. Your clients are likely to feel more valued if they can speak directly to a live person rather than to a recording.
Greeting people by name is almost certain to make a great impression, and going the extra mile by peppering conversations with the names of your clients’ family members (including pets) just might engender life-long loyalty. The more you can personalize your interactions, the stronger the bond you are likely to form with your customers. Asking about how someone is enjoying a previous purchase, or if the gift they bought was a success. It demonstrates to people that you see them as individuals and not just as transactions. Taking the time to make notes after each sale can improve your ability to recall information later on. As a bonus, your customers may view you as smarter and more competent if you are able to remember personal details about them.
Make Refunds Easy
Although you’d probably like to think that everything you sell is perfect in every way and there is no reason for dissatisfaction on the part of your customers. The reality is that you will field requests for refunds. Whether something was defective, a bad fit, or simply a product your client changed his or her mind about. It’s wise to have a clear-cut, lenient return policy. Studies show that people feel more confident when buying from a business that is generous with refunds, even when they have no intention of bringing items back. For that reason, establishing a risk-free purchase policy may net you more sales in the long run.
A warm, heartfelt thanks sometimes seem harder and harder to come by nowadays. Don’t be the business owner who takes his or her clients for granted; make sure every one of your customers feels appreciated and valued each time they visit your business. Offering a sincere “thank you” at the end of every transaction is a great way to start, but following up is even better. A phone call or a hand-written note of gratitude can show your clients that their customer satisfaction is important to you. Taking the time to express your appreciation helps demonstrate your commitment to providing exceptional service even after the sale has been closed.
Earning people’s repeat business needn’t be an insurmountable challenge. By implementing some or all of these tips, you can go a long way toward providing excellent service and ensuring your customer satisfaction will remain loyal for years to come.