All this week we’ve been bringing you ideas for how to make your business more successful, with articles like: how to get customers attention, how to attract customers, and how to work smarter, not harder. Today is all about keeping those customers loyal once you have them!
How do I create loyal customers?
Easy! Exceed expectations!
The customer is always right.The customer is always respected. – We’ve all heard the age-old adage, “The customer is always right.” Except… when they aren’t. Sometimes customers can be rude, argumentative, or just plain wrong. It is not our job to cater to their every whim, and it could spell trouble for your business if you roll over and give every customer discounts and free services/goods just because they’re loud. But just because they’re wrong doesn’t mean they don’t still deserve respect. One of our associates, Elizabeth, shares this story with us, “When I worked retail, I once got screamed at by a customer for no longer carrying a product they wanted. Needless to say, there was nothing within my power that I could say or do that would make that customer happy. I remained polite and apologetic to the customer the entire transaction. At the end, the customer left. When the next customer came up to be helped, I had already shaken off the last encounter and had a bright smile on my face to greet her. The new customer commented on my cool demeanor in the face of such rudeness, and even spoke to my manager, telling him that they would be a customer for life. Sure, the original customer may have left upset and frustrated over something that I couldn’t help or fix. But the next customer is now going to continue shopping, and will probably tell friends and family that they received excellent service, despite the fact that I should have been upset and shaken.” Whatever happened in the past (even 30 seconds past) is past. This customer, right here right now, is the one that has your attention and matters. Give them the respect they deserve – no texting, no phone calls, no chatting with other employees. Smile, ask how they’re doing, and MEAN IT!
- Thank you notes – Remember what I said about thank you notes in this article? Well, it really is a good suggestion! Can’t manage handwritten notes? How about personalized email follow-ups? Phone calls? Something to make your customers see that they aren’t just another face in your store, but that you truly appreciate them showing up (even if they didn’t purchase anything!).
- Greet everyone – This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are plenty of businesses that take this simple action for granted! Whenever you see someone enter your store, stop what you are doing, make eye contact, smile, and ask them how they’re doing. You can’t tell just by looking who is going to walk out empty-handed, or who might be your next best customer! If you have regulars, make the effort to remember their name. Elizabeth says, “One of my favorite Chinese restaurants is owned by a man named Kenny. Kenny remembers every single customer’s name. Every. Last. One. When I was pregnant, he remembered what I said we were naming our baby, and greeted her by name when we first came in after she was born. Customer service like that is hard to come by, which is part of the reason we always go back.”
Every customer has an expectation of how they should be treated when they walk into any store, restaurant, or retailer. Create a reputation of going above and beyond for your customers. It will create lifelong customers, and the better the experience, the more likely they’ll refer friends and family.