Keeping customers and clients happy is high up on every business owner’s priority list, and rightfully so! In honor of October 5th being “National Do Something Nice Day,” we thought it fitting to write about the importance of client appreciation. In this age of super-engaged customers (think Yelp reviews and Facebook posts), having excellent customer relations is a necessity.
Happy customers are loyal customers. As for unhappy customers, well, they aren’t customers for very long. So how do you maintain a steady flow of satisfied customers? Through excellent client relations.
Here are a few tips for doing customer appreciation right!
Customer Appreciation Step 1: Commitment
Your relationship should NEVER end after the sale of a product or service. That’s when the relationship truly begins and when you establish your commitment to that client. Of course, this means responding to customers’ questions and needs promptly and courteously, before and after the sale.
When customers know you care about them, make them feel valuable and wanted, then you’ve got yourself a happy customer. And happy customers usually tell others (think word-of-mouth) about the businesses they like and have good experiences with.
One way a business can show their commitment and appreciation to customers who refer business to them, is by thanking them in a tangible way. A gift card, valuable coupon, free product, online shout out, or some other show of appreciation, commensurate with the value of the business referred, are a few of the ways to thank customers for referrals.
Customer Appreciation Step 2: Engagement
Whether it’s on social media, by email or your blog, look for opportunities to engage, interact with and help inform your clients. Share your knowledge and expertise by answering questions, addressing concerns and providing people with helpful information, like industry trends and tips. This can also help earn you a reputation as an authority or leader in your field.
Going a little old school, with hand-written thank you notes, personal phone calls, and customer appreciation events, can set you apart from your competitors. Although more time is required for these efforts, they are a way to show the value you place on your customers. In particular, repeat customers and those who have played a part in making your business successful.
Customer Appreciation Step 3: Follow-up
When someone leaves a negative review on your Facebook page, don’t just scoff at it or react emotionally! How you respond to a negative review often says more about your business than the negative review does. You’re not just responding to the person who gave the negative review, you’re responding to everyone that may read the review. This is your opportunity to be respectful and professional, not reactive!
If it is a disgruntled customer, reach out to see how you can make things right. This type of customer service shows how personable you are and that you truly care about your clients’ concerns, needs and wants.
One way to uncover issues is to send a survey to customers after each purchase or on a periodic basis. To encourage people to complete the survey, offer a discount coupon, an entry into a draw for a free gift or service, or some other incentive. Another way is to phone customers for after-service feedback.
Some method of follow-up can help you catch and fix customer problems before they show up in an online review.
The bottom line is this: if you take care of your customers, they will take care of your business. We all like to feel appreciated and valued. So, show your clients just how much they mean to you today and every day!