By Michelle Russillo, SCORE OC Counselor
With the many choices consumers have today, customer service is the one of the leading ways you can drive your business to stronger revenue. Go above and beyond to let your customers know they are important, and they will return again and again. Here’s how to thank your customers for their patronage:
Always go the extra mile. Exceed customers’ expectations; get to know customers who frequent your establishment often; greet your customers by name. A happy, loyal customer who receives special treatment is more likely to return.
Handle complaints with tact and finesse. You have to listen well to hear what they’re complaining about. Then you have to be empathetic to their perception of the problem, be genuine in your apology, thank the customer for sharing their complaint with you and fix the problem. This will show your customers you are focused on them. You have one chance to remedy the problem before the customer chooses to leave you or, worse, use social media to complain.
Improve your communication skills. Small business owners must be able to communicate clearly to best describe the benefit of their services or products. Customers want to feel confident they are receiving a product or service that exceeds their expectations. Ensure all communications—including social media, website, emails and in-person communication–are clear and simple for the customer to understand. Anticipate what the customer wants and deliver it. Respond promptly and kindly to all requests, inquiries and complaints. Know that a customer wants value (not necessarily low price), consistency, reliability and predictability in your service or product.
Say “Thank you” often. The more often you let the customer know they are valued, the more you will strengthen their loyalty to you. Saying thanks in a letter, by email, and via special offers for free products will go a long way. Be thankful not only when customers give you compliments but also when they give you criticism or suggestions. This means they are interested in helping you improve. Always remember to thank customers for recommending your service or product. Go out of your way to ensure they know you appreciate their patronage.
During this time of year when we give thanks, be sure to remember your loyal customers. Take the time to try these tips, and you’ll be thankful you did.
Michelle Russillo is a SCORE OC Counselor and the CEO of MDR Consulting, LLC, a veterinary practices consulting company.