Consider the following statistics:
- It costs 4 - 5 times more to get a new client than to retain an existing one.
- A happy customer talks about his positive experience to 5 other people, whereas a disgruntled one will talk about it to 12 other individuals.
- A 2% customer retention rate is equivalent to profits made by 10% of cost reduction.
1. Customer Service Etiquette: Besides a good product or service, it is the way a customer feels when he deals with you, is what brings him back to you again and again. Greet them with a smile when they walk in. Make them feel important. Be at their call any time they need help. Listen to what they have to say and try to accommodate their needs. If you can't, then politely explain the reason behind why you can't fulfill a specific request.
2. Listen and Deal with Complaints: There is nothing worse than a disgruntled customer. It doesn't feel good to listen to a complaint. But when it is a customer, give him a patient ear. His complaint may just help you to improve your services. Take prompt action if the complaint is logical. Even if it is not, give him the benefit of doubt. Getting into an argument proving he is wrong and you are right is not worth losing a client.
3. Get Feedback: The best way to know whether your clients are happy with the services is to collect feedback. It helps an organization know the needs that are not being met and areas where they could improve. In turn, customers would be glad to know that their opinions are being valued.
4. Go That Extra Mile: Create goodwill by including a thank-you note within a customer's package. Send a greeting card or a congratulatory note on appropriate occasions. Make the extra effort to know your customer well. This is an effective retention technique.
5. The Personal Touch: Do your customers recognize you when they meet you anywhere other than in a business environment? Reach out to them when they least expect you to. Try to address them by their names every time you see them and inquire how they are doing. It is important to maintain the personal touch beyond business hours. Let your customers know that you appreciate doing business with them.
6. Anticipate and Meet Needs: Customers appreciate if their needs are met promptly. If you are able to anticipate their requirements and make arrangements even before they are sought, they would have strong faith in your abilities and deal with you more often.
7. The Power of Yes: One should never say no to a customer on the face. Listen to his requirement. His demand may be way out of line of the policies of your business, but make an effort and see if you could accommodate his need. Remember, you are not changing the rules of the business and exceptions can be made, once in a while. Even if you know for sure that the need can't be met, at least let him know that you tried.
8. Have Employees With Interpersonal Skills: People who love to interact with others make very good customer relations personnel. They are empathetic towards the needs of others and make patient listeners. They have good interpersonal and problem solving skills that are assets in customer relationship management.
9. Offer Training Programs: Holding training programs improves customer-oriented practices. These sessions reinforce the importance of client service and make the employees better equipped to handle their problems. Organizing them periodically enables one to keep the employees updated about the latest techniques in the market.
10. Empower the Employees: It is not possible for the owner or the supervisor to be present through each and every customer interaction. Sometimes an employee may have to take a decision without their approval. It is important to provide them the power and confidence to act on behalf of the superior. For this, an organization needs to have clear guidelines about customer service.
The best service is based on making the customer feel valued and important, as business is not just about providing good quality products and services; it is about winning and retaining customer loyalty as well.