Ask any business owner, and they can share a plethora of stories involving difficult customers. The sad truth is that many consumers are a challenge to deal with. But without customers, even the bad ones, businesses have no foot to stand on.
Putting the customer first isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. Poor experiences can turn into memorable events that are shared with friends and family, and you don’t want that. By contrast, helping a disgruntled customer might even convert them into a lifelong buyer. Additionally, it feels good to know that you did everything in your power to try and fix the problem.
Putting your customers first leads to higher retention rates, referral numbers, and company success. Here are some ways you can shift your focus in that direction.
Gather Customer Feedback
You might not believe that the customer is always right. However, you can’t deny that they sometimes have some valuable insight. Gathering customer feedback with the intent to implement it may just be the secret key to your business’s success.
Making changes based on feedback shows your customers that you have their best interest in mind. Business owners can easily wave off suggestions and trust their own intuition. However, doing this may cause you to miss out on good opportunities. At the very least, when you are willing to accept feedback, you strengthen your relationship with paying customers.
There are a few different methods you might use to gather customer feedback. One of the easiest ways is through a survey. You could send this out in an email following an appointment asking for feedback on their experience. You can also turn to social media and even customer reviews on sites such as Google.
Learn to Listen
Customers are often notorious for their inability to reason. When something goes wrong with the product or service they received, some customers resort to lashing out. This certainly isn’t acceptable behavior, but responding positively is crucial.
Instruct your team members to listen to customers before taking action. This will start with you. Listen to your employees and implement strategies that you want them to use when talking to customers.
Active listening includes repeating back key information and suggesting possible solutions. Taking this approach, rather than a defensive one, will help to solve a lot more problems. A good customer service team is sure to take your business a long way.
Sometimes putting the customer first is as easy as letting them do their own thing. This can be accomplished by providing self-service solutions . Today, many customers are finding value in navigating through the business process by themselves. This cuts out the middleman — a customer service representative or a salesperson — when the customer would rather avoid interaction.
There are plenty of examples of self-service in the world today. In many parts of the country, pumping your own gas is an example you might see every day. Self-check-out counters at the grocery store and online shopping are two other instances you probably come across regularly. Customers can take care of themselves while the business still benefits from their purchases.
Think of ways that your company could enable self-service. For example, you might install a chatbot on your website to answer frequently asked questions even after regular business hours. Implementing this form of AI allows customers to receive assistance when there’s not an employee readily available.
Customize Each Experience
Cookie-cutter solutions that work for each customer may certainly be convenient. However, customers feel much more appreciated when their experience with your business is tailored to fit their needs. This helps them to feel like they are more than just another number on a business spreadsheet.
For instance, when you get your haircut at the salon, the stylist often keeps a record of the services provided. This helps them remember the specific details of each customer and their style preferences. In the same way, hotels note room preferences for their guests to make their stays more comfortable. Streaming services suggest new shows based on your watch history for a more personalized viewing experience.
Your business can easily replicate these strategies using customer profiles. This system allows you to keep track of everything pertaining to the products and services you provide to each customer. This allows you to better serve each customer when they return to your business.
Implement a Rewards Program
Give thanks to your paying customers by tacking on rewards for recurring visits. This incentivizes customers to keep returning to your business and rewards them for doing so. You can get creative with the prizes and gifts you offer as well.
A basic rewards program offers discounts on products and services. The more frequently you see a customer, the more savings they may receive. But you don’t have to stop there. You can host raffles for concert tickets or even give out Christmas gifts to your most loyal clientele. If you’re keeping the customer in mind, the rewards you select should hit home.
If you’re a business owner and stuck on what to do next, just put yourself in your customers’ shoes. As the customer, what would you want the business to do for you? Use this mindset to develop plans and strategies that put the customer first every single day.
Image Credit: ANTONI SHKRABA; Pexels; Thanks!