Last week we discussed the first three ways to engage with your customers and keep them satisfied and brand loyal. The tips below and in our first blog on successful customer management focus on keeping customers, getting them to want more and exciting them enough to initiate word of mouth. This week we’ll round out the list with keeping your customers informed and going that extra mile. Keep Your Customers Informed while Work Is in Progress Nobody likes to wait for work to be done. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to wait an entire minute for a website to load. Time is more valuable than gold. In fact, no amount of gold can equal a second of someone’s time. You can’t get back time that is wasted. So if you do have to make your customer wait for something, be it some unexpected server downtime, a delay in the food that was ordered or the product that was bought, make sure you keep your customer informed during the wait. Pamper your customers by telling them exactly what is happening at that moment. Are you checking that the product is in top condition before handing it over? Tell them. Does it take a long time for the fish to be cooked to perfection? Tell them. Is the software programming team checking every single line of code to make sure it’s perfect? Tell them. Have you ever tracked a UPS or FedEx package with a tracking code? UPS and FedEx give you tracking codes so you can stay informed while you wait. This makes for a very happy customer. Keeping customers informed makes them appreciate the time they’re spending waiting. Many businesses overlook this issue. You’ll be able to maintain customers for a lifetime if you keep them well-informed during a wait. The Coup de Grâce Once the job is done or the product has been delivered, you’d better not count your chickens before they hatch. There’s one last step. The parting shot. The home stretch. Give your customer a call, or send them an email. Ask them what they think about the product. Ask for their comments. Ask about what they think about you, your company or your business. Let them know that you care about what they think. You’re not dropping them because you already got their money; you’re in this for the long term. You want to create a relationship. A partnership. Let them know that you are an exceptional company and that you deserve their trust as much as they deserve your service. There’s No Rocket Science Involved Devoting time and effort to individual customers is difficult. We at Thumbtack don’t yet do it as well as we’d like. We do some of these things, but we’re always striving to do more. We know that each new program we launch to build a relationship with our customers will boost our business. It’s all about making your customers feel at home. Make them feel extra special and give them a little extra so they’ll want to tell all their friends about you. You don’t need to grab hold of everyone’s attention, you just need to get one customer to believe in your business so they can’t wait to tell the world how awesome you are. Once you’ve converted one customer into a lifelong partner, a chain reaction will occur. They’ll come in twos. In threes. In multitudes. Are you ready to boost your business?
Running a successful business has always been about getting more sales, more customers, more partners. But what some people don’t know is that these successful companies don’t just focus on selling, or advertising, or getting more partners. There’s a secret underneath all the commercials, all the product sales and all the deals... Something is going on with these businesses. Why do they stay at the top? It’s not an over-zealous CEO. It’s not about really low rates. It’s not even always about the quality of the product. What’s it really about? It’s about three things: (1) knowing how to keep your customers, (2) making your customers want more from you and (3) your customers telling their friends about you. Sure, you can have a great leader, or rock-bottom rates, or a high-quality product. But if you just stick with that strategy, your customers are bound to “try out” something else. So what can you do to keep your customers happy and forever loyal? 1. Welcome Your Customer Like a VIP One of the most important moments in the relationship between a business and its customers is the instant they sign up for your product. Remember they are offering you their trust. They don’t know your company. You don’t know them. They will be asking themselves, “Will this be worth my time and money?” They will be full of skepticism. So this is an opportune moment for you to give them the impression that you’re not just any other company who’s in it for the money. You want to create a relationship with them. You want to create a partnership. You can welcome them with a personal email, or a phone call, or anything that makes them notice that you’re not an autoresponder. Nobody enjoys getting mail from those robots. Make your first-time customer feel special. Derek Halpern of Social Triggers does this to perfection. When you sign up for email updates on his blog, he sends you a personal email asking the question: “What are you struggling with?” If you reply with something, anything, Derek will respond personally. He talks about what you’re struggling with, and if he has the answers on his blog, he provides specific links for those certain posts. Imagine your reaction when you get a reply like that. I bet you’d be blown away. I bet you’d even start to look forward to his future posts. 2. Customer Satisfaction Is King You can never go wrong with satisfying your customer. Never. Ever. As a company, you need to do everything in your power to make your one customer happy. Provide quality products. Offer money-back guarantees. Offer discounts and bonus packages. Get them what they want before they even know they want it. When a customer is dissatisfied with your service, you need to apologize for the inconvenience and promise that you and the company will be working to make sure it never happens again. And any promise you make can’t be empty. You will be surprised how loyal your customer will become if you back up your promise with action. What your customers need is to know that someone is working on their problem. They don’t need an apologetic speech. They don’t need to have their problem fixed this very second. They just need a little hope: a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. 3. Offer Less, Give More This is the hard part, but a sure-fire way to grab hold of your customers’ hearts. Whatever you offer to your customer - give more. If you’re a photographer and you want to make your customers love you, throw in a free photo album. If you’re a disc jockey, throw in some free video coverage. If you’re a dog trainer, offer some in-home services. There are a lot of things you can do to give your customers more after promising less. This will give your service an unexpected value to the customer. Even just the little things should make your customers happy.Join us next week when we’ll finish up the list of professional and proven customer management techniques with keeping the customer informed and laying the foundation for a long-lasting partnership.