Building Successful Relationships with Your Customers
A common concern that entrepreneurs and small business owners often share is what can they be doing differently to grow a loyal customer base and increase their sales.
The answer is so simple, that sometimes it can go unnoticed: a strong customer service structure. The power behind most successful businesses is directly related to a well structured and responsive customer service.
No matter how wonderful your product is or how well trained your employees are, what the client remembers the most is their over-all experience and their interaction with your organization. Often, the business' strategy should be unconventional and the metrics should have a single goal: to ensure customer satisfaction. For starters, a successful customer service structure can be achieved by creating a culture of service, recognizing the value of each client, and fully knowing your customer.
Some suggestions for improving and strengthening your customer service are:
- Make sure that your employees are properly equipped with the right set of skills to meet customer needs. First identify what those skills are: empathy, patience, consistency, adaptability, clear communication, knowledge and having a "thick skin" to be able to maintain a 'the customer is always right' approach.
- Analyze your business' service cycle: roadblocks or a poor customer service during an essential part of the business can ruin the relationship completely and put the business at risk. Make sure your employees know what to do in any possible scenario of sale process and that they have the autonomy and correct training on how to solve a problem with a client. For instance, if a client complaints or wants to return the product, let your employees know what they can do to fulfill those requests and satisfy the client.
- Build a strong relationship with your costumer: Talent is only the beginning, because the relationship with the client is the magic formula of success. This includes training your employees to identify something in common with customers, becoming active listeners, knowing how to accept mistakes and how to solve problems.
- Set the tone and culture of your customer service strategy: you must train your team on the importance of a personalized service - avoid coming across as automated or robotic, be available and accessible to the customer, identify the specific needs of the client to make them feel special and unique.
The experience of a customer is an integral part of the success of a business and in the near future, customer service is expected to be even more important than the price of a product. Good quality service is a differentiator and the companies that are known for their customer service set the guidelines on how customers expect to be served. Nourish the culture of excellence in your business' customer service and engage customers for life. The return on investment is priceless.