Customer Relationships: How You Need To Work Hard for Their Loyalty
The art of keeping your customers happy is not just about keeping on the right side of them. The fact is that we have to dedicate time to developing good customer relations. If we are to improve as businesses, we’ve got to focus on the customer. We can spend so long trying to dangle the carrot in front of a customer, but once we get what we want, we leave them behind. But the fact is if we’ve won someone’s affection, we have to care and nurture it. But how can we do this?
Staying Positive Throughout Customer Interactions
Customer service is something that we outsource so much. It’s easy to see why, because people call in huge volumes. Predominantly, they want to complain, and when we start to encounter customers who are irate, we have to remember that it’s about helping people. Customer service is not a department in a business, but it is an attitude more than anything. When you are serving a customer, you have to remember that if someone is in a bad mood, it shouldn’t affect your performance. The important thing to remember is that customer service is about creating a positive environment.
There are things that we can do to help bridge the gap between us and the customer, especially for those customers who do not want to interact. For example, there are many people who prefer to complain in a more passive-aggressive way, such as email. And there are ways for you to help build a bridge with a customer through the website. For example, are you looking to add live chat to your website? Because this can be a fantastic way to start interacting with a customer on a preliminary level. We may feel that live chat is ineffective in certain ways. But the fact is this is a wonderful way to start building the bridge with a customer.
We can use positive techniques to reaffirm a nurturing environment for the customer, but we are there to solve their problems. And this boils down to the language. When we start to use affirmative words, like “exactly” or “excellent,” and incorporate statements of empathy, such as “I will look into it,” we are creating a positive environment for the customers and ourselves. This is something that we got to remember from our side. It’s about using positive language, but also about making sure that we remain positive. We’ve all been there, on the other end of the phone if a customer is shouting at us, but if we start to embody a more positive tone, this can help to deflate the tension.
Spare the Time
Customers do not have time to kill. We are now at the point where everybody is shopping online. And people are doing this for the very simple reason that they are able to get what they want right away. The digital era promises that we need to deliver quickly and we deliver advanced solutions. So if a customer is waiting for hours on hold, they are, understandably, going to get frustrated. And when we are busy, and we are experiencing an influx of calls or messages, it’s about making sure that we set the right templates. When a customer gets through to us, they may start to rant and rave, which doesn’t solve the problem.
If you are experiencing a busy season, you can help customers during the waiting process. If you communicate every step of the way, estimate the waiting time, but also speed up the conversation using what they call “canned responses,” this can help to sidestep a significant portion of the problems. Very few customers have incredibly finite issues. Using canned responses are predefined responses that can be used to automate certain aspects of your business. We can incorporate this into live chat, and use this to automate the most repetitive queries, giving your customer service agents space to breathe.
Exceeding Our Customers’ Expectations
We talk about the notion of managing expectations. But when we do this, we must remember that it’s about promising what we can give. There is nothing more frustrating than if a customer agent promises to return your call within the next 30 minutes, but they do not, which is only going to make the customer’s blood boil over. Again, this is where you have to set clear and reasonable expectations.
When you set these expectations, you are not promising the world, which doesn’t leave you feeling embarrassed, but it’s a simple way to confirm your credibility. It goes back to the idea of honesty and being clear in your communication. When we promise something, and we don’t deliver, this reflects badly on us, as well as the business.
The Importance of Individualized Treatment
We need to make our customers feel valued. And it’s so easy to fall into the habit of stock phrases and giving customers a very basic treatment. But this is something that will differentiate you from other businesses. Quality products are crucial, but this is not the only factor that creates customer satisfaction. If you start to treat your customers as individuals, focus on the soft skills that will build the bridge between the two of you, this will help you deliver personalized service, and make them feel special.
Getting on a first name term with a customer is a great way to make them feel appreciated, and you can do this over the phone, but you can also personalize customers’ names in automated messages using chatbots. You can also use CRM systems to keep order history, so they get personalized recommendations, but it’s also a fantastic way to see how you can bring them back to the business, by sending them a simple gesture, like a “thank you” card or a voucher.
The Importance of Handling Negative Feedback Well
Customer satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We can measure customer satisfaction, and we can put everything in place, but there will always be someone who slips through the cracks. When we start to receive negative comments, either via social media or in-person, the important thing to remember is that when we get negative feedback, it will always provide insight into the management system. There’s always room for improvement. And rather than trying to brush the issue under the carpet, the importance of collecting feedback from these people is essential.
When customers have a platform to tarnish your reputation, like social media, collecting feedback is crucial, because you need to satisfy the needs of every customer. If you can get customer opinions through every stage of the process, you will get real-time feedback. When a customer is determined to tarnish your reputation, you’ve got to look at why. They could be personally hurt because they didn’t get something on time, they could be out for a fight or trying to get a refund on something to push their luck. Feedback is essential, but you have to know where to draw the line as well.
Showing Your Appreciation to Customers
Returning customers are an untapped resource. Returning customers will spend 67% more than brand new customers. So you can target these customers with loyalty programs to revisit the store, and purchase other products. There are a wide variety of loyalty programs out there, such as birthday cards, gift cards, points, as well as giving rewards based on their membership level.
A loyalty program is easy to implement, but it’s a wonderful way to bring someone back to the business. When you’re trying to keep customers close, a loyalty program may very well be “old hat,” but it is a wonderful way for you to bring a customer back to the business and remind them why they bought from you in the first place.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways you can build relationships with your customers. It’s not just about customer retention, but about ensuring that the relationship stays solid. Loyal customers are more likely to return. But this means you’ve got to work hard for their loyalty.