You can’t be everywhere at once. That means you will have to depend on others to serve your customers. And that doesn’t always work out so great.
The customer experience is an important part of generating repeat business. A good experience with your staff means a customer will more than likely return again and again. A not so good experience means customers will likely look for an alternative.
Frontline associates — the person who actually touches the customer — are the interface between your company and your customers. You need to make sure that is functioning well. A good experience means bigger profits for you.
In his new book, The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business, customer relationship management expert, Richard R. Shapiro, founder and president of The Center For Client Retention, details how businesses like yours can improve their customer service — and boost their profits. Here are three tips he offers up to help you do just that.
1. Engage Customers.
Providing good customer service does not automatically result in repeat business; a relationship needs to be established. Relationships can be created by making an excellent first impression, by smiling and being friendly, letting the customer know the associate’s name even if it is on their badge, asking the customer for their name and having a dialog with a customer that communicates to them that the frontline associate sees them as a person first, a customer second. The retention journey must start with an engaged consumer, otherwise the business is focusing on today instead of leveraging the consumer encounter to generate business for tomorrow.
2. Express Customer & Associate Appreciation.
In most retail transactions, consumers feel that their business is not appreciated. Most frontline associates act robotically or indifferent. Even when they say the words “thank you”, the customer is left with an empty feeling. Expressing customer appreciation in a meaningful manner conveys that the customer’s business is welcomed, important and appreciated. Customers do not like to feel their business is being taken for granted and if it is, they will make their purchases at another establishment. Equally as important is having companies demonstrate the same appreciation to those associates who appreciate their customers. It’s a two-way street.
3. Provide Hassle-Free Experiences.
Too many companies have rules in place whereby customers feel it is a hassle to do business with them. Companies such as Zappos and Nordstrom have built their reputations on easy return policies. Companies should use the return process as a way to build or start a customer relationship, not to make the process so difficult for the customer that they make the decision never to return. Every company needs policies and procedures in place, but organizations should ensure that the policies not deter the customer from returning tomorrow.
See anything you can improve in your business? Here are 10 ways to provide the best customer service every day of the year. What other ideas do you have?
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