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The People aspect of a business is key to its ultimate success. No matter how well we deal with our suppliers and our employees at the end of the day our customers are the most important people we deal with. Without them there is no business and our staff and suppliers will suffer.

However it is  important to think of customers as individuals. Once we think this way, we realize our business is our customer, not our product or services. Putting all the focus on the merchandise in our store, or the services our business offers, leaves out the most important component: each individual customer.

Keeping those individual customers in mind, here are some easy, but important steps to remember when you want to keep  your customers coming back!

  1. Remember there is no way that the quality of customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it. Think you can get by paying the lowest wage, giving the fewest of benefits, doing the least training for your employees? It will show. Companies don’t help customers -.people do.
  2. Realize that your people will treat your customer the way they are treated. Employees take their cue from management. Do you greet your employees enthusiastically each day; are you polite in your dealings with them; do you try to accommodate their requests; do you listen to them when they speak? Consistent rude service is a reflection not as much on the employee as on management.
  3. Do you know who your customers are? If a regular customer came in to your premises, would you recognize them? Could you greet them by name? All of us like to feel important; calling someone by name is a simple way to do it and also lets them know you value them as customers.
  4. Do your customers know who you are? If they see you, would they recognize you? Could they greet you by name? A visible management is an asset.
  5. Go the extra mile. For example, and depending on your type of business, include a thank-you note in a customer’s package; send a birthday card; clip the article when you see their name or photo in print; write a congratulatory note when they get a promotion. There are all sorts of ways for you to keep in touch with your customers and bring them closer to you.
  6. Are your customers greeted when they walk in the door or at the very least within 30-40 seconds of entering? Is it possible they could come in, look around, and go out without ever having their presence acknowledged? It is ironic it took a discount merchant known for price, not service, to teach the retail world the importance of greeting customers at the door. Could it be that’s because Sam Walton (WalMart) knew this simple but important gesture is a matter of respect, of saying “we appreciate your coming in” and has nothing to do with the price of merchandise?
  7. Give customers the benefit of the doubt. Proving to a customer that you are right and they are wrong might make you feel good but you will lose that customer.
  8. If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say “yes”. The fact that a customer cared enough to ask is all you need to know in trying to accommodate them. Even if it is against your policy, if it isn’t illegal – try to do it. Remember you are just making one exception for one customer, not making new policy.
  9. Are your staff and associates trained in how to handle a customer complaint or an irate person? Give them guidelines for what to say and do in every conceivable case. The people on the frontline of a situation play the most critical role in your customer’s experience. Make sure they know what to do and say to make that customer’s experience a positive and pleasant one.
  10. Want to know what your customers think of your company? Ask them! Compose a “How Are We Doing? card and leave it at the exit or register stand, or include it in their next statement. Keep it short and simple. Ask things like: what it is they like; what they don’t like; what they would change; what you could do better; about their latest experience there, etc. To ensure the customer sends it in: have it pre-stamped. And if the customer has given their name and address, be sure to acknowledge receipt of the card. Of course if your business has the email addresses of customers you can do this by email and request their feedback.

One way or another it costs a lot of money to get a customer so once you have done that make sure you keep them. In fact research suggests it takes 10 times as much to win a new customer than keeping the ones you have.

 Category: Growing a Business

Category: Running a Business

2 Responses to “Grow Your Business One Customer at a Time”

  1. Paul Nulty says:

    Great blog post and of course great management and great customer service is the best part of running a great business. I treat all my email subscribers as V.I.P’s whether they have purchased goods or services with me or not. It goes a long way!

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