You may have a polite phone manner and a great range of products and services, but that no longer cuts it in today’s customer service environment. To keep customers, you have to thrill them. Here’s how.
The all-powerful, modern-day customer is a fickle creature who is now more than ever attuned to the way they are treated by a business. Old customer service standards are a good start, but they are just that – a start – in this current environment of endless choice. If you get customer service right, if you truly delight your customers on a regular basis, then you’re immediately ahead of the market and earning sales, loyalty and return business.
“We all think we treat customers well, but what we really need to be doing is building rock-solid relationships,” says Andrew Griffiths, small business consultant and bestselling author of The Big Book of Small Business. “How many times do you, as a customer, go into a business and feel as if it’s an impossible mission to give them your money? No matter what you do, it’s just too complicated or difficult. It happens way too often. I’m constantly amazed at the number of businesses that build barriers rather than making things easy for the customer.”
What is vital, says Griffiths, is the opposite of building barriers. Business success is all about building relationships, about thrilling the customer rather than frustrating them. Here are Griffiths’ top five tips to customer success.
1. Treat every customer as an individual
Now more than ever, customers want to be treated with respect and to be treated as an individual. The days of one-offer-fits-all are long gone. Whichever customer is standing in front of you right now (or on the phone or email) wants 100 per cent of your undivided attention and this means being actively engaged with what it is they are saying and what they need.
2. Create powerful moments of truth
Moments of truth are the times a business connects with its customers. This is when they form an opinion about you and your business. When numerous moments of truth are added up, a business ends up with either a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
3. Focus on doing the little things
A real key to building rock solid relationships with your customers is to focus on the small things – do what others want. This requires attention to detail and a real desire to stop and think about what the customer really wants.
4. Keep delivering the “new” factor
Customers have a huge amount of choice and are not afraid to use it. With so much choice, each offer gets bigger and bolder, and this means businesses have to constantly keep their customers actively engaged. At the same time, the modern-day customer is not just open to new ideas, new products, new services, and so on, they are actually craving them.
5. Make the customer part of the team
Get your customer involved in your business by asking them for their feedback and opinion on what you are doing or what you are thinking about. Enlist them as advisers and ask them to refer family and friends to you. Once they are part of your team, they are committed emotionally to stay involved and will actually want you to succeed.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.
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