It goes without saying, but without customers your business cannot survive. Why is it then, that so many businesses today fail to recognize, or remember, this and spend their time focusing on peripheral items like marketing and social media. Granted, those items are important and needed to get people in the door, but if once they walk in the door they are treated poorly, or not at all, they will not be coming back.
Ramon Ray, the editor of Smallbiztechnology.com, recently wrote and article titled ‘Back to Basics; How to Attract and Keep Customers’ and outlined a number of key steps you can take to get attract new customers and ensure they’ll keep coming back.
Let’s take a look at five of those key points:
1. Provide superior customer service
From the time a new customer first phones your business to the time you process her payment, every step you take should feature outstanding customer service that leaves an indelible mark. Your workers are often the first impression customers receive, whether you pay an answering service or hire your own staff. Make sure each customer is greeted with a smile and a friendly voice. Provide extras like free coffee or bottled water in the lobby if customers are required to wait for any amount of time. And for those early-morning meetings, a bowl of fruit or some pastries can be just the “extra” that sets your business apart from all the others.
2. Be proactive
By anticipating your customers’ needs and responding to them without being asked, you can demonstrate a customer-focused business model. For instance, if you own a computer services business, consider offering a frequent customer a complimentary visit or a much-needed peripheral device free of charge. The cost to your business is minimal, but you’ll earn your customer’s loyalty.
3. Provide employee training
This training goes beyond how to do a specific job. Training in PC use is important, as is customer relations training. If you expect any of your employees to take on leadership roles, supervisory training can make a big difference. Even training on how to handle stress can help improve employee performance.
Matt McCormick, owner of JCD Repair, puts this theory into practice. “What really sets us apart and leads to so many great reviews of our service is the way we do it,” McCormick says. “We don’t just teach our employees how to fix an iPhone. We spend as much or more time teaching them how to give the customer a great experience.”
4. Do away with confusing automated voice menus
Frustrating automated phone mazes are among the top consumer complaints with businesses. “In an era where ticketing systems and automated help tools are becoming more and more prevalent, we realized that many of our customers simply wanted to talk to a human being to get help with a problem,” say Arlo Gilbert, founder of iCall. “Often, if they are unable to get that help immediately, they simply leave bad ratings in public forums such as the Apple App store.”
5. Exude a positive, helpful attitude yourself.
You represent your business more than anyone associated with it. Whether you’re dealing with clients, colleagues, employees, or the competition, it’s important to maintain a fully professional demeanor at all times. Always contribute productive, constructive feedback in meetings and presentations, rather than shooting down ideas. By establishing yourself as a pleasant person to work with, you’ll be much more likely to attract new business and partnerships.
For more great ideas on how to attract and keep customers, read Ramon’s full article here and let us know what you do to ensure your customers remain happy, loyal customers!