This guest column is by marketing & entrepreneurship writer, Natalie Smith
The current business environment is pushing automation hard, encouraging business owners to automate as many business tasks as possible. While this does save time and money, customer service tasks are often caught up in the automation rush, leading to impersonal interactions. Of course, customers are noticing this and flocking to companies that offer a more personal touch. No one wants to communicate robotically.
If you want your company to be the one they flock to, you need to exceed their expectations and stand out among your competitors by showing care and interest. Quality customer service and customer engagement go a long way towards attracting clients and generating more revenue, which is exactly what you need. Now, let’s consider 7 foolproof ways to let your customers know you care about them.
1. Listen and Act
You’ll never understand what your customers want if you don’t take the time to truly listen to them. However, this is only the first part of the equation. Once your customers tell you what they want, you need to take action and provide the solution.
Carefully listening to what clients want and how they sound when they ask for it will help you prioritize your tasks. Something that seems to upset or annoy customers should be addressed as soon as possible, while other needs may be less time-sensitive. Therefore, always ask questions and get clarification when customers explain their needs. Not only will you thus understand them better, but you will also make them feel appreciated and cared for.
2. Ask for and Respond to Feedback
When things are running smoothly and customers aren’t upset, don’t just assume all is well. If they aren’t giving you feedback, take action and ask them for it. You can use emails, surveys, drop boxes or face-to-face conversations to ask customers about their experiences with your company. When they provide feedback, let them know that you received it and tell them how you plan to address their suggestions or concerns. By showing your customers that you value their opinion, you will give them a sense of importance and participation. For sure, they will be willing to do more business with you.
3. Communicate Personally
Whether it’s a handwritten thank-you note or a response to a social media comment, it is important to communicate with your customers on a personal level as much as you can. For example, try to address them by their name – it will make them feel valued. Furthermore, try to do little things like sending birthday cards or remembering their favorite products. To make things easier, keep a database so you can store personal information about your customers and use it to reach out to them later. If you have a large customer base, you can apply this notion to your most loyal customers.
Caring enough about your customers to remember details about them is a fantastic way to let them know they matter to you. They will value your effort and reward you with loyalty, so never forget to include a personal touch in the way you communicate.
4. Deliver Useful Content
One of the great ways to provide exquisite customer service is to give away your knowledge for free. Whatever the line of business you are in, you probably possess a vast amount information they could use. For example, if you are a pet shop owner, you can teach your customers more about pet health. If you own a digital marketing agency, you can provide some knowledge about SEO.
Now, the best way to do that is through educational and informative content. Consider writing articles or making videos, and posting that content on your website. You can then share that content on social media and show it to a wider audience. Not only will thus your current customers be satisfied, but you will also attract new ones. Don’t forget – sharing is caring.
5. Make it Right
No matter how great your products or service are, or how well you treat your customers, there will always be mistakes – that is completely normal. However, when you make a mistake, your customers will complain. What you can do to rectify the situation is admit your mistake and apologize. Don’t try to hide problems or sweep them under the rug, especially if someone lodges a complaint on social media. Covering or dismissing the problem sends the message that you’re more concerned about yourself than you are about the customer.
On the other hand, if you apologize and do your best to solve the problem, your customers will appreciate it. So, if you find yourself in a situation that requires prompt reaction and even some kind of compensation for the customer, don’t hesitate to make things right. Consider this as your chance to show the complaining customer how much you care.
6. Donate to Charity
If you donate to local charity and help your community, your customers will perceive you as caring and generous. Charitable donations are a great way to help a worthy cause and show your customers that you care about the community you do business in. Make donations, hold fundraisers or make a contribution every time you sell a certain item or service. It’s acceptable to advertise your charitable works, but be careful to make your donations for the right reasons. In other words, do it because you really mean it, not just because you want to present yourself as charitable. Your customers can tell the difference.
7. Organize Events and Give Rewards
Find some tangible ways to tell your customers how grateful you are to have them. For example, you can offer free seminars, host a customer appreciations sale or send coupons to your most loyal customers. Small companies can host outdoor appreciation barbecues, giveaways and other events for everyone. Larger companies may need to limit these types of events to only their most faithful customers. In any case, by organizing different events and giving out small rewards, you will make your customers feel thankful.
To prevent your customers from leaving and flocking to your competitors, you need to be there for them all the time. They always need to know you care about them, so make sure to invest enough time and energy to show them. By applying these simple yet effective methods, you will undoubtedly turn your customers into repeat buyers and free advocates of your brand. With such a base of loyal buyers, your business will grow. It really sounds tempting enough to try.
Image Credit – SteamFeed