Retaining customers is one of the biggest challenges your business will face. Getting a customer to shop with you is one thing but getting them to make repeat purchases is another. If a customer isn’t happy with their experience and is left unattended it can often be too little too late. They’ll look to your competitors for a better product or service and at that point, there’ll be nothing you can do to stop them.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps that you can take to avoid this from ever happening.
1.) Ask for feedback
If you’re not conducting regular customer surveys, you should be. Customer feedback is so important for any business. It gives you the opportunity to identify any cracks or weaknesses in your business. Without it, how would you know what was really important to your customers?
You should try to keep your surveys short and sweet. We all know that long-winded ones are off-putting! When you receive feedback aim to continue the conversation with the customer. A phone call, for example, might be able to shed more light on a response.
2.) Learn to respond, not react
Hearing something negative in life can be tough. It’s human nature to get upset or defensive. But when dealing with customer feedback, instead of automatically reacting to critique, try to think more consciously about how to respond.
That being said, don’t take days to get back to your customers. The sooner you address the issue, the better. The most important thing is that you give customers the respect they deserve even when their feedback isn’t in your favour.
3.) Show you care
Actions speak volumes. If a customer has had a bad experience, do something to make it up to them. It might mean refunding shipping costs or re-sending an item if it’s been damaged. Whatever you do, make sure it’s well thought out, personal and within a relatively short amount of time.
4.) Don’t make a sale make a customer
Happy and healthy relationships don’t just happen. If you want to ensure you have a long term customer, you need to “look beyond the sale”. A sale is merely a transaction.
Instead, you should focus on forming relationships with your customers and getting to understand their desired outcomes. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to make sure you’re constantly delivering.
5.) Be transparent with employees
Make sure you’re sharing customer feedback with everyone within the organisation. They might not realise it but every single employee has a role to play in the customer experience. When the importance of customer happiness is reinforced, employees will make a conscious effort to ensure that it’s improving.
6.) Give employees freedom
Familiar with the successful shoe retailer Zappos? According to its CEO, one of the reasons it’s renown for having such a high level of customer happiness, is that it empowers its employees.
Instead of the decision making happening in the boardroom, it happens in the front line. Customer service agents are encouraged to think about what’s right for the customer. That level of trust can make such a big difference in improving the customer experience. And in keeping your employees happy too!
7.) Make it easy to reach you
One of the most frustrating things for a customer is not being able to contact a company. If they have a comment or question they need answering, they’re often left helpless. Which can mean a lost sale, or even worse a bad review.
To avoid this make sure you have a few different options for customers to contact you. If you’re not already on social media, hop to it. But make sure you pick something that’s relevant to your business. If you run a management consultancy then an Instagram account might not be all that worthwhile!
8.) Surprise and delight your customers
Surprises are very much welcomed by customers. They give you the chance to exceed their expectations, which is a great way to keep them happy. If you’re a retailer, you could send a customer surprise discount code to say thanks for being so loyal.
Or let’s say you run a gym, you might want to offer a complimentary personal training session. There are lots of ways to surprise your customers. Just make sure they’re always thoughtful and show how much you care!
Keeping customers loyal takes work. But if you’re open to learning from and improving the customer experience, you’ll keep your customers happy!
What are you doing to ensure your customers are happy? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.