Ok, we all know that getting and keeping customers is the lifeblood of any business. I mean, we do all know this, right? Then you've got to treat these essential beings with all the care and consideration they need and require.
So, why don't you?
Here are some of the bone head things any customer can easily experience from businesses like yours on any given day:
1) Telephone calls that aren't returned
This is a constant lamentation from customers: "Why can't I get my calls returned?"
The plain fact is, most businesses are supremely careless about returning calls. Indeed, we seem to have reached the point where the returned call is the exception, not the rule.
This means that businesses are actually willing to throw business away and antagonize customers, rather than implement and adhere to a "calls must be returned promptly" policy. Incredible!
Don't let this be you. Make it a point to return ALL calls every day before you leave, earlier if possible. And do the same for all e-mail messages, too.
2) Keep customers up-to-date on their business
What customers (rightly) resent is being kept in the dark about their affairs. They expect, and are right to expect, that people they employ are empathetic. This means keeping customers fully up-to-date on what is happening with their account.
Either a phone call or an e-mail message can do nicely. The important thing is ensuring you give the customer a clear and detailed report, focusing on what that customer wants to know to be kept fully informed and anxiety free.
3) Do what you say you're going to do
When you were courting your customer, making a pitch for their business, you made promises. Are you keeping them, now that you got the business?
Customers rightly complain that there is a gap between what was promised and what is delivered. Solving this problem is not so very difficult. Keep a clear list of what you promised, and check off these items as you do them. Be sure to inform the customer, so there is no confusion. "I promised this; I have done this." That's the thing!
4) Provide easy customer support
If you provide a service requiring customer support, make it clear what you provide and when you supply it. Customers rightly complain when promised support is not available, and they have to chase you to get assistance. This very quickly goes stale and results in deteriorating relations.
Again, be clear on the support you provide... then deliver exactly what you said you would!
5) Don't gossip or chat in front of waiting customers
This one gets customers hot under the collar real fast.
The plain, unvarnished truth is that far too many business people regard customers as either a) invisible or b) pesky distractions from the thrilling task of keeping their co-workers current on the vicissitudes of their roller-coaster life.
Unless your object is to make customers see red, STOP the chatter, now and for evermore.
6) Stick to business
Just yesterday I called a local business to get details on a possible purchase and instead of focused, professional service... I got an earful about the life and times of an unstoppable loquacious business owner.
On the whole customers do not need to have either a current report on your health issues past, present and future, or the ins and outs of your business for the last quarter century, or so.
The K.I.S.S. principle applies here: Keep it simple, Sam. Don't overwhelm the customer with your personal trivia. It is a real turn-off for most.
6) Say thank-you for the business, and smile when you say it.
Quite simply, you cannot thank a customer enough for her business. Further, you cannot smile enough as you look that customer in the eye while delivering heartfelt words of appreciation.
Thank-you's must NEVER be perfunctory. They must be warm, sincere, radiant and frequent. Remember, the customer ALWAYS knows when they're genuine and bestows future business accordingly!
By Jeffrey Lant
About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant's live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice. Republished with author's permission by Robert King