Daniel C. Felsted
It always gets my gall when I try to do business with a company and they tell me that I can’t do business with them in my preferred method.
This is wrong and damages your business. Following is the first sentence of a recent email I received from a local business.
“We only take [those types] thru the phone, so you should have…”
We have all heard the saying “The Customer is King.” It has never been more applicable than today. Your customers live busy lives. They are bombarded with advertising. They are stretched to the limits. This being the case, they have more choices than ever—they don’t have to buy from you.
They can go online and order from someone 3,000 miles away. They can browse a catalog in their easy chair at their convenience, They can even order via their cell phone while waiting in traffic. We should feel honored that they take time out of their busy schedule to solicit your business.
Even more, we must adapt to the habits of our customers. If we don’t they will head straight to a competitor who does. Yes, they are in control of our future. We do not have a monopoly on their wallets anymore. They have options and they will use them with the slightest of annoyance.
Consider the following quotes from leading experts:
“If customer satisfaction is compromised, so is the brand’s equity. And if equity is compromised, the brand’s performance suffers, and its place in the marketplace is weakened, perhaps permanently.
The true value of the brand for the consumer lies not only in the product’s performance but in the product’s support and service.”
—Kristine Kirby Webster, President of the Canterbury Group
“Businesses are governed by the relationships they create and keep, and the impression they put out to their customers.”
—Lois Geller, Customers for Keeps, p. 30
The customer has become the hub of all business, replacing the time-honored corporate centerpiece we’ve lived with for so many years. As a result, the nature of the customer has changed and how to approach that customer has become–not dramatically–different.
It’s easy to accept the traps of the “old” business setup. You have the customer-facing “things” you do, and you have the operational things you do. External and internal. In fact, most businesses are still there. But it is the ones that are recognizing that they do have to be customer-centered that are the newer success stories of the 21st century. Including how they see their business processes.
—Paul Greenberg, The 56 Group, LLC
“A whopping 91% of customers who leave do so simply because they are “not satisfied.”
—U.S. News & World Report
A brand, your brand should take into account the customer’s total shopping experience—every contact point is important and should be in accord with the customer expectations. Your customers are your partners in business. Treat them as valued members of your family.
Do everything you can to cater to your customer’s needs. If you don’t they will leave and look for someone who will.
Look at each customer contact as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers.
Invite them to visit you on their terms. If your customers want to contact you by phone let them, if they want to contact you via email, mail, your retail shop, or live chat let them.
Here are additional ways to strengthen your customer relationships:
1. Set Yourself Apart
Your biggest competitive advantage is the information you provide before, during, and after the sale. You’re the expert, share your knowledge by giving. The more you give the more your customers will give in return by shopping with you.
2. Provide Clean Bathrooms
A clean bathroom makes as much of an impression as a dirty one. Make the right impression with all of the contact points you have with your customers—it will be lasting.
3. Ask Advice From Your Customers
Your customers will appreciate being asked and feel like valued members of your shopping family. They are usually glad that you asked their opinion of their experience.
4. Thank Your Customers
Thank them for their patronage, their purchases, their response to an offer. Thank them all the time.
5. Create a Top 10 List
People love lists’, create a “10 reasons to buy from us” or “10 reasons to act now”, “the 10 best selling products”, “the 10 most useful items bought”, “our customers 10 favorites”, etc. Use these lists to suggest products or services that your customers may not have thought of before seeing the list—build desire for your products or services!
When you are customer focused your business will be more successful. Studies have shown that customer-focused businesses our perform non-customer focused businesses two to one. Read my Top 10 Ways To Satisfy Your Customer and get more details on these topics and a few more to boot.