1. Random acts of customer kindness.
There is nothing greater than a random act of kindness, and in business, this can easily be used to your advantage. A random act of kindness is simply that, a random act of kindness. It’s paying for the coffee of the person standing behind you. It’s letting someone cut in in traffic. It’s delivering a thank you note, or a box of biscuits to your local fire department.
But how on earth does this help you and your business? I’ll explain, but first two examples:
There is this little Italian restaurant that I love… why do I love it? Because their staff is amazing, it is a family-run business, and the elderly couple that owns it yell at each other and laugh at each other and it has such a great atmosphere. And they are pro at the random acts of kindness, from over-the-top compliments to free dessert on your birthday and occasionally an after-dinner nip of their homemade lemoncello! I’d pick this restaurant over any high-class restaurant because their acts of kindness show my patronage is appreciated!
The second is from my favorite clothing store – They send out their normal marketing emails and that is great, but the other day I got an email saying here is a $20 voucher just because we love you… Now I’m in marketing, and I know that they sent that same email to thousands of people, but guess what … I felt loved, and I ended up spending $80 with them the next time I went in.
Random Acts of Kindness help your business and they make the world a better place. They don’t have to cost you very much, and if you are clever they don’t have to cost you anything at all, but they will do a world of good and will increase your customer loyalty – and in today’s economy, we need as much of that as we can get!
2. Ask your customers how you can be better.
As humans, we love to share our advice, and we love for our opinions to be heard. And a lot of your customers will have some great ideas on how to improve your business. Yes, we are going to ignore most of their comments. And yes most of their suggestions will be useless, unachievable, or plain ridiculous… but you will still find pieces of gold in their comments.
They will point out the aspects of your business that you haven’t had time to notice, they see the things that you don’t – and after all, they are your customer and their feedback is vital to your survival as a business!
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3. Admit it when you screw up.
We all make mistakes. All of us, and if you don’t – you just aren’t admitting it to yourself. It’s ok to make them, it is how we learn. But as businesses, we need to make sure that we admit and rectify these errors as quickly as possible.
As a restaurant if you make a mistake – don’t make them pay for it, it isn’t right. It doesn’t matter that the meal didn’t make you as much as it should have. Your whole goal at this point should be to try and make the customer happy again – If that means a free meal and complimentary dessert, then do it! That person is not one person, they are everyone at that table, and every single one of their friends, that are never coming back to you. Ever again!
If you sell a product and it is wrong or broken. Fix it! If someone isn’t happy with your work or complains… Fix it! There are far too few businesses that are concerned with customer satisfaction at the moment, and if you do a good job and work with integrity you will be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition – word of mouth is always going to be your most valuable source of marketing.
4. The customer is king.
The old saying is still true, the customer is king. If the customer isn’t happy their dissatisfaction needs to be validated and a solution found. Now sometimes you are going to get that unrealistic customer – and you can make the decision to part ways with that customer. This is sometimes a very wise thing to do. However, as a general rule – The customer is always right and their needs need to be met.
5. Teach your staff the tools of the trade.
You may have a fantastic business model, you may have an amazing product but if your staff aren’t on the same page as you, you could be losing business you didn’t know existed.
Teach your sales and retail staff to look after the customer – if they have a bad attitude you will lose customers. Have a process in place to get rid of the attitudes – I don’t care if it is ridiculous like a one minute dance party in the storage room or you buy them a donut: happy staff = happy customers.
What are your strategies for improving customer service? Have you got any customer service horror stories? I’d love to hear!
Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/18419987@N00/2999403999/”>flickrohit</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>