3 Easy Steps for making customers happy
Customer happiness in 3 easy steps
More and more people today are choosing small businesses and independent owners over large companies in order to get better quality products and better customer service. A great example is Esty online. Individuals selling their own unique and rare products. Large corporations, although make a great effort to make customers happy, just don't have what it takes any more. They are just too big to handle the day to day happiness of their customers. Their number one focus is to make money, increase sales and get buyers to buy more.
Making customers happy is no real mystery and small businesses are taking over as more and more buyers look to smaller and more personal ways of buying their products. They are the experts when it comes to happy customers because they use 3 easy steps.
Easy step number 1: Listen
1. Listen: The first rule of getting and keeping a customer is listening. I love all the waitresses at our family owned corner restaurant. Although my family and I go there every week, they always come to our table, ask us how we are and stand there and listen while we respond. They take the time to listen to my husband, my kids or myself while we ask them about a certain meal or request a certain item. Never do they rush us or try to "guess" what we may want.
Tips for listening:
- When you have a buyer come into your store or contact you by phone or via email for information, take the time to listen to what they have to say without interruptions.
- Don't rush them or try to know what they are about to say.
- Don't interrupt your customer if they are upset and need to explain why they are unhappy.
- Do let them know you are listening to their questions or comments and will do everything in your power to get the problem or situation resolved.
- If needed, repeat what they have requested so they know you listened to what they had to say.
Easy step number 2: Know your customer.
2. Know your customer: Depending on your type of business, knowing your customer can make the difference between a sale or no sale at all.
If you own a store for example, does your customer like to have help while they make their purchases or do they prefer to be left alone until they are done? It's impossible to know what your customer is thinking but take clues from what they say and how they act. If they engage in conversation you know they enjoy being around others, it they brush you off, they want to be left alone while buying.
When I go to my local pharmacy, I always know I will receive great customer service. Although the pharmacy is a large company, the pharmacist has made it a mission to know all her customers. At any time you see a variety of people arriving and the staff knows them by name and many times which medications they are due for. At my last visit, an elderly gentleman in front of me was grateful to the pharmacist for reminding him he was due for his medication refill. He had forgotten to ask for the refill, but the pharmacist knew him well enough to know he had two medications prescribed not one. This certainly saved this man from another trip to the pharmacy.
- Do your customers prefer help with their purchases or doing it on their own?
- If you own an online store, would customers appreciate free shipping for multiple items purchased?
- Do you alert returning customers of a sale or discounts for returning buyers?
- Do you offer personalized gift wrapping?
- If your customer is rushed, can you offer a speedy way of serving them or getting them their item quickly? Do you have a quick way for customers to contact you?
- Do your customers need several days to pay their items. Offer lay-a-way or if online, hold their items until they are able to pay online.
Easy step number 3: Help!
3. Help your customer: When your customer asks for help, try to do everything possible to actual help them.
I recently called my phone company wanting help with my internet service. Although I spoke with 3 representatives and a supervisor, none were able to help me upgrade my internet or offer a discount on the service I had. Their answer to most of my questions were "That's our policy, we are very sorry we are unable to help you at this time". My response, "I'm taking my business elsewhere". I switch to our local cable company which has an actual store right around the corner from my home. Weeks later, I had two representatives from the phone company at my door wanting me to switch back to them with the offer I originally requested. I said no. They lost a customer for life because they were not willing to help when I needed it most.
- Find a way to help your customers when they need it.
- Offer them a discount if they request it. Chances are you'll lose a little now, but you'll gain a customer for life.
- Offer to take their purchases to their car or have them delivered to their home.
- Find ways to helpt them resolve their problem.
So in growing your business, always remember 3 easy steps: Listen, Know, and Help.
Small gestures on your part as a small business owner will go a long way in making buyers into loyal customers.