As a result of my recent experience in a Lush shop (the company is really called Lush – I’m not trying to get down with the kids!), I thought I would share some tangible actions you can use to make your customers ecstatic!
Read about my recent customer service experience here: Great Customer Service
If you’ve ever looked in to courses or advice about customer service, you’re probably familiar with the theory that underpins great customer retention.
People are always telling us we need to make our clients feel unique, or special, or heard.
The Problem…It’s Just Theory
The problem with this kind of advice is it looks great on paper, and we can nod and agree with every principle, but it’s a bit like eating candy floss.
Great at the time, but it fizzles away in to nothing as soon as it’s finished.
The problem with theories is that we can understand them, but translating them in to tangible actions can be tougher than we may first think.
I know that I need to make my customers feel unique, in theory.
But what does that actually mean, in terms of concrete activities I can do?
Let’s take a look at the top twelve real, actionable ways we can make our customers come back again and again, through great service.
They fall in to three categories:
- making them feel unique
- listening to them
- communicating with them
Let’s delve into each one…
Make them feel unique
OK, here’s that principle again.
To turn it in to an action, we need to understand what feeling unique may be.
For me, it’s about real steps:
- Send your customer a thank you message when they have been using your services for a set period of time. It’s about remembering who they are, when they joined you, and tracking what they have purchased from you so they know you fully understand them
- Visit their blog or company web site, and support their business through comments and interaction
- Be proactive about your customer proposition, offering long-term customers incentives to stay with you such as discounted rates once they have been with you for a year, or a loyalty scheme where regular users get special offers and services which you would not provide for new clients
- Where possible, use the services of your own customers, supporting by offering them your business, just as they bring you their own.
Listen to them
One of the primary goals for business owners is to make our customers feel as if we understand them and their needs, and can respond to them.
In a tangible way, this means…
- Remembering their name, even if it means keeping a database of all your contacts, and letting them know that you remember who they are, and what they require from you
- Hearing exactly what they are saying to you, making notes of what they have said, keeping their mails and revisiting their messages before you get in touch, so every time you speak to a client you know exactly who they are, what they want, and how you can help
- Being practical. If you know that a specific solution could benefit your customer, put it forward to them even if this means that you can’t charge them as much as if you had delivered their original request
- Making the effort to sit down before making contact, and considering what they need from you, and then proposing the ideal, tailored solution to meet their needs.
It’s harder than you think to listen, and actually good listening is much more about strong administrative processes than being quiet and taking in what they are saying!
Communicate with them
Staying in regular contact with your customers is much more than dropping them a spammy newsletter once a month.
Strong communication involves:
- Mailing them directly to give them an update about what you have been doing, calling them by their name, and avoiding corporate-style whitewash correspondence that only serves to frustrate them
- Communicating with your clients well by calling them up on a schedule, to let them know you are there and asking if they need anything
- When you deliver a piece of work or a service, call your customer up and get their feedback, and make changes based upon what they say
- When you meet someone who could benefit from networking with another of your customers, offer to link them both up to help them out. If you’re in your customer’s part of the world, offer to drop in for a coffee and a catch up to do some proper networking. Hold your customers in your mind at all times, and think through how you can take real actions to show that you are thinking of them.
The boomerang effect (i.e. ensuring customers come back time and time again) is simple to achieve, if you build in real activities to a strong schedule. Your customer relationship strategy is just as vital to your ongoing business success as the products you provide and the service you give, so you can up your retention rate by actively applying the principles of service that we all know.
What actions do you take to keep your clients coming back time and time again?
Please share your views in the comments below.
‘thank you’ iamge by vistamommy