Customers want to feel appreciated, and so they should. There’s a lot of competition out there these days and if a new customer chooses to spend their hard earned money with you and your company, then you should certainly find a way to thank them for it.
At Tickle and Delight we try to continuously exceed our customers’ expectations not only through our quality products and customer service but also by including a little gift with each of their purchases. This doesn’t just prompt a return visit and repeat purchases but also shows that we care about them. It’s far more cost effective to use loyalty vouchers and small gifts to keep existing customers coming back than it is to capture new ones. And besides, happy customers refer us to their friends and bring new customers to our doors.
Now that’s all well and good with a positive customer experience but what about a negative one?
When was the last time you went back to a restaurant that served you a bad meal? I’m willing to guess, never. A bad customer experience can literally ruin your business. But all businesses will face tricky customer situations at some point be it a late delivery, a faulty product or a simply dissatisfied customer. The way in which you and your business deals with the situation will make or break the customer’s experience and in turn impact your business.
The best way to manage these issues is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would make you happy in this situation? What would you want to see in order to resolve the issue at hand? By imagining we are our customers we can gain a better understanding of what we can do to make them happy and to continue their relationship with us. One of the most important things I learned was to listen to the customer, and then find a way to resolve the issue in a way that works best for them rather than me.
I make it a policy to personally contact any unhappy customer because it’s important for them to hear that someone is taking their complaint seriously. Having the business owner take the time to personally make the call will make them feel very valued.
I start the call by thanking them for their feedback. I tell them how important it is that they feel they can contact us with both positive and negative feedback and how this in turn improves the experience for future customers. Once again, the customer is made to feel valued.
I then give them the chance to explain. People love to tell their stories so give them the opportunity and listen intently.
Apologise if it’s necessary. Saying sorry is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get anything resolved and if it makes the customer happy, then it should be easy enough to say.
Then move on to resolve the issue. If it involves a broken or faulty item offer to replace or fix it. If it’s unsuitable allow them to exchange it for something else or refund their money if you have to. You should be willing to do whatever it takes to resolve the situation to the customer’s satisfaction.
Finally and most importantly, go above and beyond what is expected. Always offer them something more, like a discount off their next purchase or a free gift with the replacement item. This extra effort will go a long way towards making your customers feel valued and appreciated and earn you their loyalty.