How to be more Customer Friendly from a Customer's Point of View
Be Customer Friendly!
When the leaders within a business meet to discuss how to attract and keep customers, and keep them happy, I'm sure that many don't even think of how friendly they are to their customers, especially when it comes to lesser known things. And those that do bring up customer friendliness often overlook things that, to them, may seem trivial, but to the customer, such as myself, may loom large. And for you customers, you will be familiar with many of these items, but oftentimes the businesses you deal with are not. So please, especially if they provide you with the means, contact them and let them know! Often, it's just a case of they not seeing the forest for the trees.
So, here's a few tidbits for you business owners to take note of, and it doesn't matter if your business consists of just you, or if you own a Walmart sized corporation.
1. Be "Ready" At Open!
This means, when you open up your doors, or answer that first call for business, have your merchandise, employees if any, change, whatever you need and use for business, ready to go! I've been to businesses when they've opened and have encountered restrooms that hadn't been cleaned, or products that hadn't been brought from the stock room in back, or cashiers that were unable to make change because the money wasn't there yet!
So please, don't open at 8am only to tell a customer that the pancakes won't be ready til 9:30 am, or that the new computers advertised to be on sale haven't been brought out yet, or especially, that you don't have change for that twenty!
And if a vendor is at fault, be sure to let them know ASAP! And apologise to your customers!
And, this goes beyond just doing direct business. Make sure your restrooms are clean and fully stocked, as well as any other customer amenities you provide.
2. Be Open When You Say You Will Be!
Most of the time, businesses will open on time, but sometimes, due to lack of planning, some don't. Now, some customers will accept opening 5, 10, or even 15 minutes late, and they'll wait. Some will leave, never to return, even if it is just one minute late that you open!
Now, to be sure, some customers go by their own watches which may have been set ahead by as much as 5 minutes, so if they leave, they are being unfair. However, you may still be able to retain these customers.
My suggestion is, if at all possible, have your own clock in your window, or even mounted outside your door if you have no window, along with a sign that you'll 'Open when this clock says 8AM." Then be sure you do open when you say! Even those super sticklers are likely to stick around and not be upset by this, so long as you open when you say you will.
3. Be Sure to Do What You Say You'll Do!
Some people I know bought an expensive, large piece of exercise equipment from a store about 10 miles from their home. It was to be delivered by the store to their home, which is generally easy to find the next day. The people stayed home to make sure that they'd be there when the item arrived. Well, it didn't come. They called the store and were told that the delivery guys couldn't find their address! But they were promised that delivery would take place in two days. So, the people stayed home again on the new delivery day. Again, the item was not delivered.
This time, the store claimed that it had been a busy delivery day and so the guys couldn't make all the deliveries. So, the people went to the store to talk face to face with the manager. The manager blamed the "Laid back culture of that particular state", among other things. Needless to say, the people cancelled their order.
So, do what you say you'll do and don't assume people will take kindly to not following through.
4. Automated Customer Service? BE USER FRIENDLY!
I cannot emphasize this enough! I've been cut off, sent to dead end voicemail boxes, and made to go through incredible mazes, when trying to reach some companies' customer service departments by phone. But don't let these companies fool you when they claim that that's the best they can do. Because I've dealt with other companies whose customer service departments are much easier to deal with! With these companies, it's easy to navigate, I don't get sent to a dead end voicemail box, I don't get summarily cut off if I'm waiting or put on hold, and if I need to speak with a real live human being, it's easy to find one!
So, if you have an automated answering system for your customers, please, make sure it :
a. Doesn't cut them off at random!
b. Is easy to understand and to navigate!
c. Has "Back Button" features at all levels so that they don't get "Dead Ended"!
d. Does Not just dump them into a voice mailbox which most likely will never get looked at and may even be full!
e. Make it possible and easy to reach a human being!
d. Lastly, if a human cannot be reached due to being outside of business hours, the system should let the customer know which hours a human can be reached!
5. Don't Let Lapses Become Chronic!
This is most important, as it will create a negative lasting impression and will keep customers away! Almost any business will be guilty of one of the other mistakes from time to time, but a business that makes those and other mistakes a habit will lose business and eventually be out of business!
So, to be customer friendly isn't just about having a good product or competitive prices. These other things count, too. Keep an eye on these and you'll be more customer friendly. And, in this day when customer service and customer friendliness is often overlooked, you'll surprise people who will then use the best form of publicity for your business, word of mouth .
Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment!
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