Running a business is nonstop… but if you’re already running one, you don’t need me to tell you that. What you may need, however, is refresher on good, old fashioned customer care.
Between the latest apps that are best for your business and consumers making product decisions with only a few simple clicks on their Smartphones, computers or iPads, customer care simply isn’t what it used to be. The challenge to simply get customer attention has changed as a result of our fast-paced, 21st century lifestyle – but that doesn’t mean we can’t care for our customers the way our parents, grandparents and generations past have enjoyed.
To start, consider the kind of business owner you believe yourself to be. Are you a veteran in your industry, delivering results based on expert experience, care and proven results? Or are you an up and coming entrepreneur looking to re-invent the wheel, so to speak? Possibly you stand somewhere in between these two types of business owners, having settled comfortably in doing okay at what you do, but not being the best in your market?
No matter who you identify yourself to be, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos of running your business and letting customer care slip away from your priority list. Keeping this in mind, consider how you can change this… and do so with sales, customer retention and overall business strength as your goal.
Tip #1: Want to Help Your Customers… For Real
We’ve all has those moments when the last thing we want to do is talk to anyone… nonetheless a customer who deserves – if not expects – strong customer service. So what happens when you have a moment like this and still have to deliver customer attention? Unfortunately, all too often customers sense this, and as a result choose to spend their money elsewhere. Likewise, customers may push through experiences with less than excited sales associates or support staff and still choose to spend their hard earned dollars anyway… only to walk away with an experience that leaves them dissatisfied and complaining to others. To help avoid this, make the decision to leave your frustration, annoyances or anything else that has put you in a bad mood aside when working with customers. Sure, it sounds easier said than done… yet there’s a reason that expression exists. Train yourself – and your team – now to set your personal feelings or professional frustrations aside when supporting customers in order to reap the rewards of stronger customer care and – quite frankly – more enjoyable work moments, as well. The key? You need to want to do this. It makes all the difference.
Tip #2: Make Customers Come First… Always
Again, easier said than done… but then again, aren’t you in business because of your customers?
Think back to the “good old days” when corner pharmacies welcomed their customers by name, doctors made house calls and no matter where you went, someone would look you in the eye to say hello. While this type of care was nice, it was also delivered because it was “good for business”, as the saying goes. Keeping this in mind, what’s good for your business? Would a little more customer TLC do you good?
Blending old fashioned expectations with modern customer care isn’t as hard as it may seem. Consistent smiles, friendly greetings, genuine interest in your customer’s well being and sincere appreciation for their time and dollars spent with you can go a long way. Remember… businesses don’t exist without customers choosing to spend money with them, so make sure you keep this top of mind.
Tip #3: Make Your Customers Feel Appreciated… And Avoid Making It All About You
We live in an egotistical society, like it or not. Between selfies and self promotion, employees, management and owners alike often fall into the category of being too self-obsessed. Everyone’s looking for the next best thing nowadays, which tends to keep them from appreciating what they are experiencing in their actual moments everyday. Thinking back to the good old days, however, this was never an issue. People lived “in the moment” and embraced what they were experiencing versus trying to make sure others knew about what they were experiencing (we owe thanks to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for that having changed so dramatically).
When working with customers, avoid the temptation to check your email, scroll through Facebook, play on an app or – very simply – even look the other way. Instead, focus. Really, really focus. Listen to what your customers are talking about. Aim to understand what they are seeking, and work hard to deliver the right service or product for them versus the one that is easiest or most expensive. By making their best interests your best interests, you’re bound to gain stronger customer retention, more customer referrals and strength across your business in general, as well.
Very simply, you need to appreciate your customers.
Finally – while your personality is part of your business success, it’s important to keep your personality in check with your customer care. Adding a friendly smile, a genuine interest in your customer’s goals and a sincere appreciation for them doing business with you can’t hurt, either. So next time a customer walks into your business, bring yourself back a few decades and deliver customer care that they’ll remember.
To learn more about running a successful business, check out the Business Owner’s Playbook.
This article was written by Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.