Every shopkeeper, entrepreneur, salesperson, and store clerk worth their salt shares one common goal. Without exception, the key to a successful business is to create a steady stream of repeat customers. While it’s great to see a new, satisfied customer at your register, it is rewarding to know you offer something worthwhile that keeps that customer returning time after time.
Customer satisfaction doesn’t just happen by accident. It is the result of a conscious effort to meet, and exceed, the reasonable expectations of customers. Few businesses are the only game in town, so standing out from the crowd, in a positive way, is key to long-term success.
Many assume that a satisfied customer will tell one person about their excellent experience but a dissatisfied customer will tell 10 other people about the service failure. So, what can you do to make sure you end up on the positive side of things?
1) Never, ever, treat your customer as if they are invisible. Greet anyone who enters your place of business, offer to be helpful if needed, and then step back and allow your customer a chance to get their bearings in your business environment. They may have an idea what they want and need, or they may be utterly clueless. Don’t smother them with attention before they are ready but don’t make them look around and wonder if anyone works there when they are prepared to make an inquiry.
2) Resolve whatever concern your customer may present. If they are looking for an item in your stock that they cannot find, be clear in your direction as to where to see it. Better yet, stop what you’re doing and take the customer to the exact location. Remember, nothing you are doing is more important than taking care of your customer. Without them, you don’t need to do anything else.
3) Never end a transaction by telling the customer you don’t know the answer to a question they may pose. It’s okay not to know everything. It is not okay to think that’s the end of the issue. Take any question or concern to someone more knowledgeable in your organization. If a problem requires research, offer to get back to the customer with the right information. Always follow through on this promise.
4) Don’t treat a mistake, either your own or one caused somewhere else in your organization, as a failure. Remember, sometimes a good recovery from an error is as good, or better, than getting it right the first time. Your customer will be impressed by the fact that you value their business enough to stick with an issue until resolved to their satisfaction.
5) Ask your customer if you, and your business, have done everything you could to give them the pleasant experience they expected. That can come in the form of a survey or merely a concerned question or two at the end of the transaction.
6) Never forget to thank your customer for their business. Never forget the reason you are in business in the first place.
A customer who sees their needs being met by the organization they deal with is a happy customer. A happy customer is a customer who sees little reason to take their business elsewhere and is destined to return to do future business.