Daniel C. Felsted
I am an extremist, I freely admit it. How, you ask? Each of us keeps a mental note of who gives us great service and those who don’t. I do. But what makes me an extremist is that I keep a written copy of these two lists. Mine is titled: The 10 Best Shops to Visit and The 10 Worst Shops to Visit—Don’t Even Bother. Obviously, you want to get on the first and never want to be found on anyone’s second. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t know that they are on someone’s “do not visit” list until it is too late.
Let’s first look at some of the reasons why your customers put you on their Do Not Visit list.
• Rude employees
• Uninformed employees
• No support after the sale
• Poor product selection
• Little or no follow-up
• Information given that is perceived as false
• A messy or sloppy shop
• Employees that are unkempt or not professional
As you can see, sometimes it is a simple thing that will ruin the relationship between your company and it’s customers, and most of the time it’s for life. To reinforce this the following quote from Debra J. Schmidt, an expert in customer service should really get your attention.
“68% of customers leave because of an attitude of indifference by a single employee.”
Ouch, are you training your employees enough? Are they your biggest assets or liabilities? They should be the number one advocates of your business and its products. If they are not you need to look at how well you train your employees. Most of the time, I find that employees are not trained well enough and don’t meet customers expectations because of it. You must be proactive and prepare your employees to excel each and every time they deal with your customers.
You can’t afford to rely on the training a previous boss has given your employees, my experience in training employees in customer service best practices shows that they aren’t getting enough training.
Some things you can do to prepare your employees to meet your customers are:
1. Empower your employees to solve the problems of your customers
2. Set goals with your employees
3. Hold regular reviews and evaluate their progress and goal attainment
4. Provide opportunities for your employees to become proficient with your products or services
5. Regularly train and coach your employees on best practices and current customer service techniques by either hiring a professional trainer or developing materials in-house.
Now let’s look at ways to get on your customers Best Shops to Visit list and some of their benefits.
Following are strategies that help you build lifetime bonds with your customers and keep them coming back year after year.
• Greet all customers with a smile and by name where possible
• Maintain extra friendly and informative staff
• Being helpful at all times
• Having a clean and organized store
• Dressing like the experts you are
• Provide educational materials
• Following-up with all customers with problems
• WOWing each customer at every contact point
You can significantly increase your revenue by focusing on such customer service strategies. Study after study has shown that customers want to be educated and treated fairly and that they are willing to pay more for such services. It’s a no lose situation!
If you are not sure where to begin, look for a customer service expert that understands how to build lifetime relationships with customers. Have them help you develop a plan that will engage your customers and includes your employees in the process.
To get you started I have developed simple guides called How-to Get Your Customers to Pay More and Do it Happily! It lists 50 ways to engage your customers and obtain more loyalty from them.
PS: Congratulations for those few business who have made the switch from my lists The 10 Worst Shops to Visit—Don’t Even Bother to The 10 Best Shops to Visit, there has been a few, which shows that anything is possible. If I have noticed so have others.