Betsy: Great advice! Thank you.
Seven easy ways to build loyalty with your customers and increase referrals from them.
Tell me your worst customer service story. You have one, right? We all do!
Okay, now tell me your best customer service story. Come on, knock my socks off.
It's a little bit harder to remember those, right?
Many of us take it for granted when we get good service, and many times it is not until a problem occurs that we even think about a service level at all. Even if you are providing solid customer service to your clients, it may take a little work on your part to remind them. It is well worth the effort to do so, since it is five times harder and more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
Keeping your customers happy means they will tell their friends, and that is the cheapest and most powerful form of marketing you can get for your business.
Here are 7 ways you can leave your customers with a positive impression they will be inclined to share with others:1. Thank them. It is really that simple. Make sure they know you appreciate their patronage every time they buy from you, whether you are an online merchant or selling crafts at your local farmer's market. 2. Ask your customers what they like best about your product or service. Encourage them to think about why they like your company. 3. Ask your customers if they would like changes or additions to your product or service. Keep track of those comments and make changes accordingly. This market research will help you design better services for new customers, and existing customers will appreciate that you listened to them and responded to their needs. 4. Set up a VIP list of your best customers and let them know first about new products, sales and promotions. Everyone wants to be part of an exclusive club, and rewarding your best customers with early sales or first access to new products is a great way to strengthen your relationship. 5. Keep your customers informed. Whether you write a blog, send a weekly e-zine, or mail a newsletter, keeping them abreast of new developments in your industry will help them make better buying decisions. Do not use this format to sell your products, at least not the majority of the time. Make sure 75% of it is something that will give value to the customer from the customer's standpoint. No one wants information that is really just a thinly-veiled sales pitch. 6. Spotlight your customers. If you are a hardware store, showcase a plumbing contractor who is a regular customer. He will appreciate the advertising of his service to your customers and return the favor by telling his customers about you. A retail clothing store might host a fashion show featuring some of the best customers in the new season's clothes. 7. Ask for referrals. Many times people simply do not think of this until it is brought to their attention. Are you a real estate agent looking for buyers? Call your past clients and ask them what they liked about your service, what they would tell friends who might be looking for a home about you, and then specifically ask if they know someone in the market right now. Do customers at your hair salon love their cuts? Offer them a discount for every referral they send your way. Gone are the days when there was only one car dealer in town or that you even had to buy a car in person. With so many options available to consumers, you have to be memorable - in a good way! - to insure repeat business.
Learn more about the author, Betsy Talbot.
Betsy: Great advice! Thank you.
Great article and nice writing, too!
In a business community where in many cases customer service seems to be a lost art, your insights, Betsy, were refreshing. Thank you.
Bravo Betsy, very well put and a great reminder with the new year. Debb
No matter how much you think you know, it's amazing how many great ideas are out there. I do most everything on the list...but will now begin to spotlight customers in my newsletter and blog. Thanks Betsy...you just made my day!
Great ideas. start with "Thank you" and end with "Referrals":-)
Excellent feedback. I also recommend waiting until they send you a thank you email/card and then ask them if you can use the card/email as text for an online testimonial--this can feel more natural. I often thank them for their gracious and articulate prose and one of my clients saved my thank you letter as a reminder of her literary gifts.