25 Ways to Keep Your Customers for Life
by Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP – www.arnoldsanow.com
In today’s fast-changing and competitive environment, excellent customer service is essential for success. In fact, the only way to differentiate yourself and to become less of a commodity in the marketplace is through good customer service. The strategies for keeping customers for life can be honed down to some basic steps that any business owner can use. To get customers, keep them and to get enthusiastic referrals follow these 25 proven techniques:
- Reward your customers. Send them a gift, provide them a lead, generate business for them, etc.
- Use your customers’ services and buy their products. If you want to increase loyalty, there is no better way.
- Send thank-you cards. Make sure they are handwritten and sent promptly. Peter Drucker attributed much of his success to the fact that he sent out 12 thank-you cards every day.
- Return phone calls promptly. Since so many people don’t return calls, you automatically look good when you do.
- Do what you say you are going to do.
- Do things when you say you’re going to do them.
- Underpromise and overdeliver.
- Be accessible. Make sure you are available and willing to help customers whenever there is a problem. Your business should be open to meet the convenience of your customers and not only for your convenience.
- Be credible. If you can’t establish that trust right away, customers may start to look at your competitors.
- Appearance counts. Perception is reality, and the reality is that people do judge a book by its cover.
- Show empathy. Remember the best customers are your currents ones. Stay in touch and continue to service their wants and needs.
- Have a “Goof Kit.” If you make a mistake, it’s not enough to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Promote customers’ products and services. By getting business for your clients, you ensure you will have a customer for life.
- Do things for the customer’s convenience not yours. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to do business with you. The easier you can make it for your customer to do business with you, the more business you will have. Determine all the ways you can eliminate the hassle factor.
- Send an invoice periodically with a “no charge” on it. This will help your customers remember you. And if it is unexpected, it will have a much larger impact.
- Have a customer advisory panel. Only by knowing your customers’ wants and needs can you successfully grow your business and be totally customer-oriented.
- Hire mystery shoppers. To really find out how good your customer service is, hire someone to go out and use your service from start to finish.
- Be a resource. No matter what your customer needs, try to find it for them — even if it has nothing to do with your business.
- Shower customers with kindness.
- Speak your customers’ language. If you use jargon your customers can’t understand, they won’t use you.
- Have a great attitude.
- Treat your employees well. If they are treated poorly, there is a good chance your customers will also get poor service.
- Give your customer what they want, when they want it and how they want it.
- Give back to your best customers. If you run a special price or product offer for first-time customers, ensure your current customers are offered the same opportunity.
- Don’t show an attitude of indifference to your customers. In a recent study on why people give up on a company, 68 percent quit because of an attitude of indifference toward the customers by the owner, manager or employees – 68 percent!
“Customer service is more than just smile training — it’s about treating people the way they wanted to be treated,” “It’s also about giving the client what they want, when they want it and how they want it. It really comes down to the fact that good communication and human relations skills equals good customer relations.”
8 Keys to Sales Success
There are many ingredients necessary for success in sales. Here are 8 keys to help you achieve your sales goals.
1. Determine the wants and needs of your customer’s first then work backwards to develop the product or service.
Many times we make the mistake of showing customers products or services we like or offering things we have available. Only after asking probing questions and listening very carefully to the answers should we offer suggestions. In other words, “To sell Jack Jones what Jack Jones buys, you need to see Jack Jones through Jack Jones eyes. The quality of the feast is determined by the consumer not the chef.”
2. What’s in it for me? (WIFM)
What is the customer really buying from you? By listening and understanding we can close more sales by focusing on the benefits (results) and not only the features (characteristics) of what we’re selling. For example, if you’re a travel agent who sells cruises, by stressing certain benefits such as love, relaxation, etc. you get the customer to dream and really desire the cruise.
3. Add value to every contact
We are all in business for the long run. To build a solid business we must develop long-term relationships. To do this we need to show trust, respect and value. This can be accomplished by always thinking about what “extras” we can give our customer. Also, to make the “extras” pay off they need to be something the customer doesn’t expect. For example, after I finish delivering a seminar, I will give the person who hired me as well as the attendees an autographed copy of one of my books. By not expecting this, it provides them with the WOW feeling. Every time we meet they know that I’ll always be looking for more ways to give them more value then they expect.
4. Practice teamwork
To win in selling, you have to be able to play on different teams and you have to learn to play different roles. For example, when I’m working with a customer, I become an extension of their team. If I can help them develop solutions to their various problems and concerns then I become an indispensable member of their team.
5. Watch your appearance
Remember the old saying; “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately everybody does. To make sure I’m on the right track, I dress in the parameters of what’s appropriate for each client. I’ve seen many salespeople lose sales because they let style get in the way of substance.
6. Focus on winning every sale
Success is one customer at a time. Focus on trying to make a sale to every customer you meet. Never stop selling until the customer says either yes or no. You must be 100 percent determined to win. If you have the determination, you will do everything in your power to out service your customer, outwork your colleagues and outsell your competition. Your determination creates strength; your doubts only destroy it.
7. Become an information resource to your clients
Let your clients know that you can help them with any concern they have no matter what area it is in. If they need something or someone find it for them. For example, someone recently called me about doing a seminar on increasing your memory. I don’t do this, but I told my client to give me one hour and I’ll find someone to meet his or her needs. By doing this I become a valuable resource for them. Now, if they need anything they call me first. This not only increases my value, but also gives me more opportunities for work.
8. Don’t overeducate your prospect
Don’t tell the prospect everything. If you give too many choices or make everything seem too complicated, they will tend to “think about it.”