Have you ever asked yourself why you choose to go to a specific bar or restaurant instead of all the other bars and restaurants out there? You go there so often that you’re on a first name basis with some of the waiters. Some of them know you’re regular even before you order.
That’s what it feels like to patronize a customer-friendly business. And that’s what makes you want to keep coming back. Each time you go to your favorite store, restaurant or coffee shop, you feel welcomed and special. This is no surprise as McKinsey revealed that 70 percent of customer’s journey is dictated by how the customer feels they are being treated.
However, companies are losing trillions of dollars ($1.6 trillion to be precise) when customers switch to other companies because of poor customer service. Business owners can avert such loss when they work on building customer-friendly businesses.
It takes time to create such outstanding closeness and rapport with your customers. But you don’t have to wait for a decade to pass by before you can. Applying these 4 essential tips will help put you on the right track towards building a customer-friendly business.
1. Make building long term relationships the goal
It’s good to make a good impression on your customers, but that’s only half the journey. Your business will be perceived as a customer-friendly business when you’re able to transform the good first impression into a long-lasting relationship. In other words, building a customer-friendly business is a long-haul game.
So, what does it take to build long term relationships?
First, you have to make it a goal to be your customer’s friend. Next, you need to sustain this friendship. It all starts with being genuinely concerned about your clients. Find effective ways to better their experience with your business. Create avenues to provide for your customer’s needs. Engage in conversation and find out what their problems are and provide solutions for them. According to Salesforce, 56 percent of customers don’t mind sharing their personal information as long as they receive better customer service in return. That way you create a strong rapport with your clients.
2. Have customer-centric culture
Remember the saying, “The customer is always right”? It’s a policy that was built on ensuring that your customer is your business’ number one priority. This is exactly what being customer-centric is all about. Customer-centric businesses are driven by policies and strategies that are aimed towards providing a great customer experience.
A customer-centric culture is one that is centered on giving your customers an all-round positive customer experience. We’re not just talking about offering exceptional customer service. It covers all stages right from where the customer walks through the doors of your business to right after they make their purchases.
According to Walker, consumer experience will become more important than price and product by 2020. So, customers don’t just base their decision about your business on what you offer but also on how they are treated.
Your customers feel special when you execute policies that put your customers and their interests first. Oftentimes you’re required to go the extra mile in order to make sure your customers are satisfied.
3. Outsource tasks or projects when necessary.
It’s possible to be so engrossed with running your business that you lose touch with engaging your customers and giving them your all. That’s where small and medium enterprises have an edge over large corporations. Although it’s good to work towards expanding your business, that’s no excuse for neglecting the people who make the business what it is – the customers.
One way to create time to focus your energy on your customers is to outsource as many tasks and projects as possible. This will provide you with enough time to work on providing your customers exceptional service.
However, you need to make sure you avoid making disastrous outsourcing mistakes that will prevent you from reaching your outsourcing goals. Effective management of outsourcing partners will keep you more productive and help you efficiently meet your customer’s needs.
4. Train your employees on good customer service.
Let’s say you walk into a shop to buy something. The first person you encounter is an employee. And more often than not, the way an employee treats you is what will influence your first impression of the shop.
In fact, RightNow reveals that 73 percent of customers fall in love with a brand because of friendly customer service representatives. That’s why it is crucial for your employees to be properly trained on how to communicate with customers and attend to customer’s needs.
Your employees need to understand the reason why building a customer-friendly business is important and how it will affect them in the long run. Carrying your employees along on the reason why being customer-friendly is important will help them know the standard expected of them to actualize this objective.
Wrapping it up
You must have guessed by now that your products and services alone aren’t enough for your customers to want to patronize you.
Making your business customer-friendly is actually built on becoming friends with your customers. This means you have to put your customers first, listen to their needs and provide them with outstanding value. To get this up and running, you have to establish a customer-centric culture which will be the vehicle to drive this initiative forward.
Of course, building a customer-friendly business will require you to put in a lot of time to focus on making your customers happy and winning the customer experience. Outsourcing certain tasks and projects can help you create that time that you need. In addition to this, carry your employees along because they’re most often the first contact your customers have with your business.