Love is in the air! As Valentine’s Day is getting closer, some are looking for love, in love, or just want to be loved. At any given moment, a customer will form an opinion about you and the company you work for. That emotion will then be forever associated with your company. The saying is: First impressions last the longest. That is why it is so important to create an excellent experience for your customers as soon as they walk in the door. This helps to develop your company’s relationship with them into love at first sight!
1. Value word of mouth
How often have you had a bad experience at a restaurant and then a few weeks later a co-worker says that they are going to that restaurant? You cannot help but share your unpleasant experience in an attempt to save your co-worker from the same fate. Bad service will always be recognized, talked about, and remembered longer than good service. Everyone stumbles and makes mistakes and unfortunately not every customer will be happy. What is so incredibly important, is how you amend that unpleasant experience for the customer. By being able to admit fault, recognize a problem, and apologize, it allows for improvement and growth to prevent further unpleasant experiences and get those customers to fall back in love with you.
2. Communication is key
Instant gratification is something that is expected these days. If customers have a problem they will pick up their phone to send an e-mail, visit your website to see if there is a live chat option, or they may even pick up the phone and call you. The important part is that no matter what, there must always be an efficient way for a customer to contact someone within your company as soon as they need something. As a business, it has to be your number one priority to make sure there is always an open and reliable line of communication. No one likes not getting a phone call after a first date. Don’t allow your relationship to suffer due to not picking up the phone to call a customer back.
3. Always listen
Someone very clever once said to me “You have two ears and one mouth, so you should always listen twice as much as you should speak”. When a customer is expressing a concern or a problem, listen. By really listening and understanding the problem your customer has, you will be able to help them in a more personal way. By making sure each experience is unique to that customer, they will feel the love in your relationship.
4. Be transparent
Transparency is a very important factor in building a trusting relationship with your customers. In the digital age there are no secrets. Therefore, we must be upfront and honest from the beginning. Always be open to feedback and don’t be afraid if it is negative. Feedback, positive or negative, is how you develop and grow. Transparency means that customer knows what you have to offer, and how they are going to benefit from it. This assures them that there are no hidden agendas or unpleasant surprises in store for them down the road.
5. Mind your manners
“Please” and “Thank You” are still magical words in my book and when you run a business, having good manners goes a long way. Make sure you genuinely thank your customers for their business. There are a dozen alternative companies your customer could be giving business to, but they are in a committed relationship with yours. Commitment is a big step, so thank them for that.
Good customer relationships, like any relationship, take time, attention and care. If they are ignored or neglected, they will soon forget about you and move on. So on this Valentine's Day, and every day, show your customers the love and the great service that they crave and deserve.