In a tough economy, we want to do everything we can to keep our customers coming back. Here are five easy things all your employees can do right now that will increase customer loyalty.
1. Serve your customers.
Serving your customers means putting them first. It means helping
them get what they want. Remember, your customers come to you to
accomplish something they want or to avoid something they don’t want
They believe you can help them. (Otherwise they would have gone
somewhere else.) They have chosen you!
Honor their choice by doing everything within your ability to help
them. This means focusing your attention and efforts on discovering
what they want and helping them get it. You put their interests and
desires first. It means your sole motivation is helping them get what
they came for.
2. Connect with your customers.
Connecting with your customers means getting to know them as a
person. You develop a relationship with them. Of course you keep it
professional and in the context of your business. But it’s okay to
learn about them as you help them. In fact, the better you get to know
them, the better you can help them.
As you develop a relationship with them, you build trust in each
other. They trust your ability and motivations. You trust what they
tell you. This helps you help them. It improves communications.
This does not have to take long. Sometimes a “social chemistry” can
develop within minutes. It shouldn’t be phony or manipulative. It needs
to happen naturally. If you care about your customers, if you use your
people skills, if you ask pertinent questions, if you listen and really
focus on helping them, then you’ll develop a great rapport with them
3. Have fun.
One of the biggest reasons customers don’t return is they have no
reason to. Sure they might get what they want but they often get it
with no personality, no sparkle, no sizzle. Their experience is a dud.
It’s about as exciting as cleaning your ears. There’s nothing memorable
about it. Or worse, employees are crabby, grouchy or even angry and
they show it. Yuk!
On the other hand, companies that enjoy tremendous customer loyalty
offer their customers something they can’t get anywhere else: FUN. They
provide them an unexpected, positive experience. They have fun with
them. The employees enjoy their work and each other and their
customers. It’s not that they goof off or waste time. They don’t. But
they find ways to bring fun and joy into their work and they bring
their customers along for the ride.
4. Be flexible.
With most things there is no one right answer. There is almost
always more than one way to accomplish something. But we don’t always
admit it. Too often we focus on one way to do something. Maybe it’s the
only way we know. Maybe it’s the fastest, cheapest or easiest route to
helping our customer. But that doesn’t make it the best.
Our goal is to help our customers get what they want, within our
ability. So we always need to look for alternatives. We need to be
creative. We need to think beyond the first solution that comes to mind
when we’re working with our customers.
Being flexible means offering customers more than one solution. By
offering choices we’re making it more likely they’ll get what they
want. There are few things worse than being a customer and someone says
“that’s the only way you can do it”.
Being flexible also means being willing to try new things and go the
extra mile for customers. It means being a problem solver rather than
an order taker. Customers know the difference. (So do managers.)
5. Make them happy.