The customer is always right.
The aforementioned sentence is one that gets bandied about a lot. Yet, if you run a business, you will definitely know one thing: the customer is certainly not always right. They will complain about contract agreements when they didn’t read the fine print. They’ll destroy an uninsured product and try and claim their money back. They will try and cut a deal with an in-store manager, even though it is a chain store and prices are set by higher-ups of the organization.
You get the picture.
However, we still have to pretend that the customer is always right. After all, there is no business without customers, and so it is imperative to try and keep them happy whenever (reasonably) possible. So with that said, below are some important business tips when it comes to improving the experience for the customer.
Send out offers and free gifts
Everyone likes something that is given to them for free. So to feed into that mindset, show your customers that you appreciate their custom by sending out some discount codes or even free gifts.
Instead of just targeting new potential clients with offers like ‘20% off your first order’, don’t forget about those that have been loyal to your business. In fact, these are the customers that will appreciate receiving offers/gifts the most, as it is a way for you to show gratitude. Not to mention that it will boost the chances of them becoming repeat customers on a long-term basis.
An incentive scheme where a customer, for example, has to make five individual purchases before receiving a free gift is also a great way of enticing regular custom.
Respond via social media
Don’t believe that you have to avoid using email as a means of communicating with customers. That option – which is still an effective one, especially with the rise of mobile and how email syncs with it seamlessly – is still there and will be for many, many years to come. However, an additional way of communicating with your customers is by using social media.
So your first thoughts right now might be that social media is just a way to promote your business. While that should be its primary function when running a company, this doesn’t mean you should neglect messages via the likes of Facebook and Twitter – especially with how popular these platforms are with the general public. Instead of ignoring them or redirecting them to your email address, respond directly to them.
You can also turn these responses into a form of marketing. If you show care and compassion with your message, and regardless if the comment you’re responding to is positive or negative, it will reflect well on your business.
Go the live chat route
Sticking to the communicating side of things, a growing trend amongst current businesses is to go down the live chat route. As for what this is, you will no doubt have encountered it on multiple occasions in the past. When you’re on a website, a prompt at the bottom of the page will signal that, if you need any help, you can speak to a customer service advisor that is online. You click on the help button, you send your enquiry, and you (hopefully) receive the answer you were searching for.
Now when it’s typed out like that, can you see the advantages that live chat has over other means of communication like email and social media? Essentially, it speeds up the process exponentially. When you take into account how precious a customer’s time is, that is certainly a good thing.
With the way phoning a business is slowly dying out, expect it to be replaced by live chat sometime in the future.
Use a CRM like Salesforce
Have you ever dreamt of a magical system that can store, sync and automate your customer’s information? Well, that system is actually readily available on the market right now, and is known as a CRM (customer relationship management).
While there are various CRM systems to choose from, the most popular at the moment is Salesforce. With Salesforce, you have the opportunity to store all customer information in one convenient location, automate certain time-consuming processes, collaborate seamlessly with other employees, and much more. All of which will help deliver a faster, more effective way of communicating with clients.
Thanks to Salesforce being cloud-based, this also makes it really convenient to use on the whole. This is because it allows you – and all of your employees – the opportunity to access all customer information whenever needed. So if your flight is delayed and you’re stuck in the airport at 4am, you still have the opportunity to check up on a customer’s data – assuming you have an Internet connection of course.
Do you use other software like Netsuite and wish you could link everything together? Well you can even sync Salesforce with NetSuite, so that you get the best of both worlds in one attractive package. Basically, CRM is effective, and you need to jump on the bandwagon as soon as possible.
Personalize your packaging
Despite being a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, a little bit of personalization can go a long way to improving a relationship with a customer.
For instance, this could be something as simple as including a small note with each package that you send out. However, instead of just being a generic ‘Thank you for your order’, you can add a touch of individuality by adding the recipient’s name. For extra impact, go with a handwritten note as opposed to one that is simply printed out. You could also write a funny message.
Plus, the personalization doesn’t have to be necessarily small. If you run a pizza shop, for example, you could become known as the local joint that adds drawings upon request. It’s quirky and seemingly pointless on the surface, but it is also something that customers will appreciate and remember about your business.