Let’s be honest, there are some customers you’d rather never deal with again. You know the ones – they’ve just spent half an hour shouting at you about waiting times or prices or whatever else that’s put a bee in their bonnet.
But as tempting as it is to wave goodbye and wish them a happy life, you can’t afford to lose any customers – difficult or otherwise.
Because nowadays they aren’t just always right, they also have all the power.
Treat ‘em wrong and screaming matches over the counter will be the least of your worries.
From Twitter to the modern-day phenomenon of the TripAdvisor review, there are plenty of public platforms for disgruntled individuals to voice their disapproving rants.
And the damage inflicted to your reputation could continue to lose you business for years down the line – after all, there’s no true delete button on the internet.
Customer retention has never been more important, so we’re sharing five fail-safe strategies for boosting loyalty and keeping your company as irresistible as possible…
#1: keep providing excellence
Like any predator chase, your customers will quickly turn on you at the first sign of weakness, leaving you broken and shattered.
Completing a degree in business studies online will give you all the core skills you need to stay at the top of your game, and the freedom of studying to your own schedule means you won’t have to sacrifice any time that could be better spent charming customers.
#2: handle all complaints efficiently
Put a clear and comprehensive system in place for handling complaints. Include step-by-step instructions, from apologising to how to sensitively ask for more information about the problem.
Make sure all staff are fully trained in complaint management. For times when you’re not there to deal with issues yourself, give them the authority to placate angry customers – whether that’s by offering free coffees or discounts – and the confidence to implement any such policies.
#3: remember silence isn’t golden
Burying your head in the sand and hoping that angry customers will kindly disappear is the worst thing you can do. It may require more patience than you currently feel you have but always respond in a professional manner.
This is especially true of online complaints that are clearly visible to other members of the public, like TripAdvisor reviews. Stay calm and follow your normal system for dealing with grievances.
#4: give them something in return
We all love a good freebie, so regular giveaway competitions and loyalty point schemes are an effective way of sustaining people’s interest.
But, incentives aside, giving back to customers can also be as simple as offering a personalised service – remembering names and details of preferences or orders. It shows them that they’re important and helps build a trusting, friendly relationship to keep them coming back.
#5: perfect two-way communication
Efficient communication involves both talking and listening. Use social media to tell customers what you’re up to and what they can expect from shopping with you.
And then, even more importantly, ask for their opinions. Everyone wants to feel valued, so use surveys or take some time at the end of a transaction to discuss their experience. An outsider’s perspective may just help you learn something new and valuable about your business.
Follow our five steps, practise the virtue of patience, and even the angriest and unhappiest of customers will soon be singing your praises.