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It costs five times more to get a new client than it does to keep an existing one. Existing clients are often strong opportunities to provide referrals for your business. But, how do you continue to provide them with great customer experience?
Making your clients feel welcome is an important component of positive customer experience. Rest assured, modern technology combined with good manners will place you at the top of the list in today’s competitive market. The good news: It costs next to nothing and can be easily implemented with a little planning and coaching.
1. Remember to Smile – Even on the Phone
A welcoming smile sets people at ease, so you always want to smile at customers when you make eye contact with them. It may surprise you to learn that you also need to smile when you’re on the phone. This is because smiling can change minor inflections in your voice, and your customers will be able to hear the difference. Smiling will also put you in the right frame of mind to remember that you’re working with a potentially paying customer, and that’s a good thing.
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2. Guiding the Customer in Selection
Customers may have doubts or queries regarding a product. If a particular brand is not available, you could suggest an alternate brand. You must try to understand their requirement and provide guidance in selecting products.
3. Office appearance.
First impressions are lasting and therefore critical. An attractive and neat reception area not only lets clients know that their comfort is a top priority, but that you are operating an efficient organization that they can trust with their business.
A messy environment announces to others that you don’t care, which is not an attitude that will win anyone over. It says that you don’t take pride in or respect your business operation.
4. Greet your clients.
Acknowledge clients as soon as they walk in the door. If you can, address them by name. If you are on the phone or busy with another client, make eye contact and smile. As soon as you are able, greet them verbally with a high-energy handshake and a smile.
5. Take a genuine interest in your clients.
In his book “Swim with the Sharks”, Harvey MacKay discusses the value of knowing details about your customer that make him or her feel special. Find out the name of your client’s spouse and children. Ask about them by name.
What activities does your client enjoy? If your client tells you he’s about to run his first 5K, ask him about it the next time you see him. Better yet, read about the results in your local newspaper and congratulate him on his finishing time! Did his son just lead his high school basketball team to the state championship? Drop the newspaper clipping in the client’s file and give it to him the next time he comes in.
All of these small bits of information, when added together, create a unique bond with that individual.
6. Eliminate distractions.
Distractions such as ringing phones or interruptions from other employees can be frustrating to a client. Find a quiet and private area for meetings and ask not to be disturbed.
If you are a small business owner faced with dual responsibilities of reception and client meetings, silence the ringer and allow your answering machine to do what it was designed to do. Focusing on the client assures her that she has your undivided attention.
7. Give your employees a break(room).
Designate a private area for employee breaks. Do not allow them to huddle near the entrance. Offering your staff the same courtesies that you extend to your clients helps create satisfied employees who are eager to go the extra mile for your clients.
8. Create an electronic welcome.
If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, but instead own a web-based business, you can still make customers feel welcome when they come to your website. When visitors sign up at your site by leaving their email addresses, send a welcome email. Thank them for coming to your website and explain what services or products you offer. Then invite them to come back to see you.
9. Keep communicating.
Once you’ve given your new client a proper welcome, be sure that you communicate with them regularly. Reply to each email in a timely manner and address each client by name.
You may want to send a monthly or quarterly newsletter, announcements about events in your community, or technical tips. Invite client feedback by placing a survey link at the end of an article or blog post. Allow clients to comment on blog posts, and when they do, acknowledge this feedback. In reply, always remember to thank the guests for their comments. Their time is valuable and showing your appreciation can make them want to come back.
Another place to keep the conversation going is on social media. Let your clients know that you are paying attention to their concerns and that their opinion counts.
10. Say “thank you”.
Thank each client at the end of a transaction or communication. Let them know you value their business and that you want to see them again. They will be more likely to return, assured that their business is appreciated.
In short, follow the golden rule, “treat your clients like you would like to be treated”. Be courteous and gracious and put the client first.
11. Remember Their Name and Personalize Communications
A person’s name is the sweetest sound they’ll hear, and you should take that to heart. Whenever possible, call your customer by name. If you’re in a service industry, then use the name throughout each visit. In retail and restaurant settings, look at the name on their credit card or check so that you can use it.
It’s smart to send out thank you cards to new customers. It’s genius to personalize each card with a little handwritten note. Mention something specific to the customer so that they know you truly remember them and are looking forward to working with them again.
12. Mind Your Manners and Keep it Low-Key
Please and thank you are important, but it actually goes beyond that. You need to stay positive and polite in your interactions with customers and fellow workers alike. Complaining about things in front of your customers will make you look bad, and being rude to a team member can be a major turnoff for customers. When interacting with others, remember that someone is always watching and taking note of how you behave.
People hate being pressured. Even if they cave to the sale today, they won’t come back to you in the future. Stay patient, let your customers know that you’re there to help them, and then give them space to make a decision. This will help you make them feel relaxed and welcome, and it will lead to greater repeat business in the future.
13. Go High-Tech
There are many applications that can help you get in touch with your customers, including Voice of Customer systems. Companies who use VoC enjoy lower customer care costs along with improved response times. Over the months, this leads to higher sales and returns. It’s a high-tech, effective way to overcome the age-old problem of keeping in touch with customers so that you can stay relevant in their lives.
14. Do Not Make Them Wait Long
Avoid placing a customer in a phone queue or lengthy check-out line because it makes them feel unimportant. Ponder on the number of customers hung up or walked out from a store because their waiting time is unacceptable. On your end, you should exert efforts in making them wait to a minimum.
15. Give Special Attention to New Customers
In all cases, you should give new customers special attention. Strategize in developing a detailed checklist of the things that you can share with your customers. It can be about your business’s philosophy and return policies or your years in service.
New customers appreciate it when you pour extra time welcoming them and sharing interesting facts about your business.
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