It’s no mystery that customer service often trumps competitive pricing in the minds of a lot of consumers. Some customers would gladly pay more for the exact same thing from a business that goes the extra mile to provide quality customer service. People feel more comfortable spending their money at places that acknowledge that their customers have a choice and show their appreciation for their business. If you want to know how to provide this type of experience for your customers, a few quick changes can make a significant difference in no time!
#1. Start with the Relationship.
One advantage of being a small business is being able to interact with your customers on a more one-on-one basis. Customers want to know that they can trust you and that you value their satisfaction. Small businesses have an advantage here as it is a lot more difficult to do this in a big business setting. Just taking a couple of minutes to have a short conversation, remembering a birthday or an event happening in your customer’s life, or paying special attention to their preferences and special requests are all easy ways to foster a relationship. If you see your business with them as a true relationship, it will naturally come out in the details. The personable quality of your service is the most important aspect of your interaction. Remember names, take a sincere interest in their business, treat them like friends, and instill this core value in your staff.
#2. Be Accommodating.
The line between giving in too often and accommodating reasonable customer requests can be a little blurry, but it is important to show your customers that they can depend on you to come through for them. A good rule of thumb is to base accommodations on compromise. If your customer has a particular need, go to whatever lengths you are comfortable with to meet their needs with a smile. You are running a business, after all. Maybe a reasonable rush fee is a small price to pay for meeting their particular deadlines. As long as you are able to meet both the needs of your customers and your business at the same time, you will establish yourself as an organization that customers can rely on to come through for them when they need it.
#3. Stay in Touch.
Never forget about your previous customers or clients. You never know when they may need your services again so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to call your name to mind and reach for the phone or email to contact you. Drop by or send an email or card to say hello! Not only are your previous customers and clients great sources of additional business, their experience with your business can lead to referrals for their colleagues, family and friends, and anyone they network with. Seek feedback from your customers as well. Value the opinions and advice of your customers and make changes when necessary.
#4. Focus on Solutions.
If you have a dissatisfied customer, always focus on solutions. Details and events never matter for long when a customer knows that their problem will be resolved. Think outside the box when figuring out how to satisfy your customers by focusing on their needs and being creative about how to meet them. Think critically about solving the problem, learn not to pay mind to aggressive behavior or finger pointing, and put your energy into working toward a solution instead. If you handle things well, the impression of great customer service will outlast the mistake in your customer’s mind. This kind of attentiveness will keep your customer happy, and communicates the reliability and professionalism of your service.
#5. Show Gratitude.
Be thankful and be sincere. Remember that customers can always go elsewhere, but most of them choose to go where they feel valued. They want to see friendly faces when they visit, and pleasant voices when they call. Learn to treat your customers as real people with real needs and teach your team to do the same. Make it your goal for every person who walks through the door to always leave feeling glad they came!
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