Like it or not, customer relationship management is the new marketing. Therefore, lots of individuals are looking for brands and organizations that know how to take care of their customers.
For many of these individuals, once they find the right organization, most will stay unless you give them a reason not to. As a small business, engendering customer loyalty doesn’t have to be an expensive practice.
With the right strategies and effort, you will find that you’ll have the business of many customers who will be more than willing to spend even more money with you and your organization. The following are some of the most effective customer retention strategies for organizations on a budget.
Address Their Concerns No Questions Asked
Did your customer buy a faulty unit from you? Make it easy for them to return it and replace it no questions asked. Is one of your customers unable to upgrade or use your software? Coach him through the installation and upgrade process. At the very least, send them to a highly useful resource in your knowledge base.
Maintain or Improve on Your Service or Products
At the very least, maintain the same level of service that made them your customers in the first place. Make no mistake, once your service starts sucking, your customers will walk away without any hesitation. People don’t like feeling like they’re being cheated.
Getting that incredible Zappos-like customer loyalty often has nothing to do with big, fancy terms and strategies. At the heart of it all, it simply has to do with establishing a quality baseline and providing that value all the time.
For instance, if you run an e-commerce store, apart from providing an excellent stock of products, make sure to use a safe and secure payment processor like Fattmerchant. This will further bolster their sense of security and reliability on your brand.
Make Excellent Customer Service a Culture
Say someone bought a pair of shoes from your store but found them to be the wrong match or size. Now, they’ve returned it to your store because they were unsatisfied with the purchase.
What do you do? Do you tell them it’s not your fault that they ordered the wrong thing and there’s nothing you can do? Or take the shoes back and give them the correct size plus maybe a discount for the “trouble”?
If you do the former, chances are your actions will be justified –particularly if your terms include the phrase “all sales are final or non-refundable”- and you will be in the right. But, what if you went above and beyond to replace those shoes? What do you think that will do for your brand’s rep?
Better still, where do you think she’s going to refer her friends when next they need shoes? Ultimately, great customer service comes down to one of two things:
Do you want to be right or do you want to have a customer who will probably become your brand evangelist?
You decide. A legendary brand reputation like Zappos is built one customer at a time (they even set a record for the longest customer service call). Always remember and teach your staff that.
Always be Reachable
Nowadays, business and customer service doesn’t just end when you close for the day. Customers can and will call after working hours. Make sure to provide an avenue to reach them. If you can’t attend to their need outside office hours, make sure to do so as soon as you get back to work the next day.
This is how to build excellent customer service without necessarily spending a small fortune on high-tech equipment and training an army of customer service agents.
Oscar King is a small business owner and freelance writer who contributes articles and insight into running a business effecitvely and smoothly.