Whether you got it from books, had a mentor tell it to you straight, or learned from a bad experience as a customer yourself, it stills bears repeating: Businesses need to respect their customers — these people are their lifeblood.
Customers don’t stay where they don’t feel welcome or heard. Customers won’t stay when they feel that they’re being mistreated, cheated, or used. Entire libraries have been written about taking care of customers, and in the course of human error, we still fumble when it comes to providing good customer service.
There are basic steps that all businesses should take to give better customer service than the competition. There are also right and wrong ways to handle customer complaints, as well as some misguided ways of thinking that can lead to poor service.
Here are 6 principles to help you handle the customer relationship well.
1) Take the long view for your business and build for it.
Have you ever thought of cultivating customers relationships like an orchard?
One-time purchases are one thing, but people know that selling once doesn’t automatically beget a relationship, and for businesses to survive and thrive long-term, they have to be about relationships.
Think about all the money and labor that goes in converting leads into sales. Consider the effort invested in identifying and channeling high-value sales-leads into your most frequent, loyal customers — your ‘raving fans’.
Cultivation in this sense means paying attention and taking care of the customers you’ve earned through your hard work. You want to keep them, you have to take care of the ones you’ve got. You planted the seeds of trust, you nurture the relationships you’ve built, and you grow an ‘orchard.’
It’s not just “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” and all. Build enough customer relationships and you also build a community. A community take time to grow and to maintain, but when you take care of it, it can also offer you support in return.
A supportive customer community is also your best advertising and marketing tool. They can promote you with recommendations and word-of-mouth advertising.
Based on the phenomenon of “raving fans”, all businesses serious about their survival need to build strong, long-term customer relationships, and their business practices and philosophies need to reflect that.
Business isn’t just about closing sales — not if they want to to be great ones. Businesses can also be change agents. when you keep making good products and work to maintain good relationships with your customers, you can make a real difference. Continue reading 6 Principles Behind Superior Customer Service