By Henry Brown
Any small business owner who has struggled to get a business up, on its feet and running knows how valuable their customers are. However, one mistake that too many make is forgetting to let the customers know that. There’s nothing a customer likes to feel more than validation for their choice. You have to make them more than happy to do business with you. You have to make it an experience that will be a more powerful factor in bringing them back than any marketing.
The simple matter of your demeanor and how you treat them is going to have a profound effect on the kind of experience your customer has with you. Your products and services can be the best around, but if you’re not courteous, even warm, you’re going to have a hard time keeping customers. Take it a step further than just polite behavior, however. Personalize it. Remember their name and what they last bought or the circumstances of your last transaction with them. Use it to ignite conversation. Get to know your customers. Familiarity in business breeds loyalty quicker than most other things.
Make things as quick and easy for them as possible
That said, you need to be able to pair it with an experience that actually works for them. You can be as polite and jovial as you like. If the service trips up willing customers, all the smiles in the world won’t save you. Take a closer look at your point-of-sale. Is there nothing that could be done to make it quicker or easier for them? Are you using a loyalty system that’s too convoluted to be valuable? Do you have a card reader app that keeps your business accessible to more people? Remember, you need to make it as easy for them to do business with you as possible. Otherwise, they will look for places that offer that ease-of-use.
It’s not all about how you treat them when they come to you. It’s how you reach them after that, as well. Regardless of what kind of business you’re in, you should follow up. First, it helps them remember you. Secondly, it shows that you care about what your customers think about you and your services. Get in touch with them about deals. Ask them for their opinion or request a testimonial. Even something as simple as a thank you note can be just the right personal touch to foster a sense of warmth within your customers. You want to build loyalty, so you have to show yourself as someone to be loyal to. You have to be willing to take the first, second and third step towards a good relationship.
There are a few different qualities you have to make sure your customer experience definitely has. It needs to have familiarity and personalization. It needs to be as easy and painless for them to do business with you as possible. It needs to proactively dip into their life. You have to always put your best foot forward. Don’t wait for them. Make them your favorite customers yourself.
Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.