Keep Your Customers Coming Back by Keeping Them Happy

Customer Service Tips to Encourage Repeat and Referral Business

customer service
Great Customer Service is the Very Best Marketing Tactic. Mattjeacock | Getty Images

Before the days of unlimited long distance phone services, there was a battle between phone companies over providing long distance services. Each company offered low per minute rates to new customers who would switch to their service. However, if an existing customer asked for the lower rate, the company usually refused. 

Offering incentives is a great way to attract new customers, but what about the people who’ve already bought?

For some reason, many businesses take for granted and even neglect their current customers. They offer all sorts of great discounts or perks to get new customers, but fail to treat their current customers with the respect they deserve. Interestingly enough, in the long distance service phone wars, many customers switched companies to get better rates, and often the first provider would call and offer the lower rate to switch back. 

Your current customers and clients are your very best source of repeat and referral business. First, they’ve already bought from you which means they’re primed to buy from you again. Second, if they like what you offer, they’ll tell others. When it comes to business, it’s easier and cheaper to keep a customer/client than it is to get a new one. As a result, customer service should be an important part of your business and marketing plan. Here are some areas to consider to insure you're providing the quality support services your customer deserve:

Ease of Doing Business with You

Once people get past their initial impression and are ready to take the next step, how easy is it for them to get started? Is your website organized so they can find what they need? Is your contact information clearly displayed? Do you offer a variety of payment options?

Is delivery or follow up timely? Leaving email or phone messages unanswered for days will result in people doing business elsewhere. So make it easy for your customers and clients to get the information they need.

Once they're a customer, the ability to get in touch with you for help or to re-order should be just as easy. Don't be like the phone companies and start ignoring your customers and clients, and assuming you've got them on the hook.They can leave as easily as they came, so make sure each experience they have with you is a good one.

Responsiveness

How quickly do you respond to questions or complaints? You’ve worked hard to generate a lead or a sale, don’t lose them by ignoring them or treating them badly. While the customer isn’t always right, they always deserve to be treated with respect and professionalism. Some customers are difficult, and some might be so mean that you don't want to salvage the relationship. But bad news travels fast, and that one negative client can spread their opinion, ruining your business reputation quickly. Killing with kindness is an effective way to prevent unhappy customers from bad-mouthing you. In many cases, being polite and helpful leads to the customer apologizing for being rude to you.

Regardless of how the customer treats you, always be professional and do your best to help respond to their questions or concerns.

Go the Extra Step

Today, consumers have a lot of choice in who to do business with. Make the decision to work with you easy by always going the extra mile. Build relationships with your customers through email, personalized thank you notes, or providing above and beyond what you initially promised. Follow up with customers and clients to thank them for choosing you, but also to make sure they're benefiting from the product or service you provided.

Rewards

People like to be appreciated and rewarded. Consider how many reward cards you have or coupons you get from retailers for being a loyal customer. Show your clients and customers you appreciate them by treating them well.

Offer a reward program, coupons or a discount as a thank you for their continued patronage. Not only will this keep them coming back, but it increases the likelihood they’ll tell others about your business.

Most businesses don’t think about customer service until it’s too late. But having a plan for providing quality customer support and service is crucial to home business success.