The longer I’m in and around small business it amazes me how customer satisfaction seems to becoming a thing of the past. A matter a fact it seems to vary like the wind, depending on which business you’re dealing with.
As much as I travel and since one of my love languages is acts of service, I’m more sensitive to this, combined with the simple fact that I have always worked to provide good to great service with my prospects, customers and clients.
Thus I believe that it all starts at the beginning and the customer service that you provide should not fluctuate like the price of oil. Because customer satisfaction leads to repeat and referral business, if you and the people who work you understand how to connect and build relationships.
Continually creating new business without a plan to retain customers is like having a revolving door where a customer comes in through your marketing efforts and then never or rarely comes back.
If you are going to invest in the barrel of advertising, marketing, and promotion, then shouldn’t you have a simple working plan to retain customers, clients and subscribers?
It should all start with the initial prospect connection. Yes you heard me right on this comment – the initial connection, wherever that may be.
The connection may be live and in person or it may be through a phone call, live chat, email, article or even social media.
Let me give you an example: This past week I initiated a call to a local water sports company to inquire about watercraft. Upon taking my call the receptionist passed me onto a sales person who answered all my questions, but didn’t ask my name, where I was located or anything about my needs. He was simply uninterested in connecting, satisfying me or making the sale.
All he did was answer questions and then hang up the phone. Thus a potential satisfied customer just kept on searching and didn’t purchase from him or the business he worked at.
Customer satisfaction starts with the first connection and this business didn’t do anything to satisfy me and due to the size of the purchase, I just kept shopping.
Want to retain more customers and create satisfied happy people that will refer you to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances? Then look no further than the first connection and use these three simple Customer Retention tips:
1. Create and Implement a Simple Plan to keep those that you bring into your world in your world. The first thing to do is to put reminders or cues on an index card or piece of paper. This reminder should be used during interaction with new prospects or existing customers. It’s a way to keep you on track during phone, email and e-chat conversations, plus can also be utilized in live scenarios, if used discreetly.
2. Ask Questions, Survey and Track as many conversations as possible. This way you can see progress and what you need to work on to increase customer satisfaction and retention. The survey questions should be asked during the conversation or interaction, but only when appropriate. Tracking is key so you can tell what kind of questions are being asked the most and how people are responding to you and the people you work with.
3. Make sure to Test, Add and Adjust your reminders to ensure that you are doing everything possible to stay on top of customer service and satisfaction. In some cases you may need to add something into the mix in order to increase responses. In other situations you may have to adjust the way questions are asked and even phrased.
The bottom line is that if you serve your customer (like we did at The TIny Store), then his or her satisfaction could show up in a testimonial, comment, feedback, referral or repeat business in the near or distant future.
So serve your customer (or client), even though you won’t be able to please all the customers all the time. It will be worth it and their satisfaction will benefit your business in the short and long-term.