How to Keep Your Customers Smiling

When your customers leave your business and return to their “real” world, wouldn’t it be great if you knew for certain that they would be doing business with you again because they had just received the ultimate customer experience.  Doesn’t it make sense that these loyal fans would immediately go out and tell everyone they know about this wonderful business and that these new customers would come rushing through your doors begging you to take their money?

Reality check!  It just doesn’t work out that way.  Generally speaking, the opposite will happen.  Your customer leaves your business and rarely says anything to anyone regarding their shopping experience, unless…. it’s a bad one.  Then, they will tell everyone they know about the horrible experience they have had, vow to never do business with the establishment again, and will “un-friend” anyone who they find out has done so.

So how do you keep your customers smiling and eager to give you their hard earned money?  Here are 3 strategies that, when understood and used regularly, will not only strengthen your position with your current customers but will encourage these customers to become “talking billboards” and “raving fans” of you and your business.

Why do people do business with you?

Doesn’t it make sense that people choose to do business with those that they know, like and trust?   Make this a priority. Take the time to let your customers get to know you.  As they realize who you are, you will be in a position to learn about the people who want to put money in your pocket.  Remember, your customers have choices.

Tell folks what you do, how you do it and why you are passionate about what you do.  You are there to serve your clientele and provide for their needs. You have to be personable.  Having a bad day?  Keep it to yourself.  Smile and be nice.  Who wants to deal with a sour puss?  Smiles are contagious, and odds are that your customers will like you and still be smiling when they leave.

Trust is something that is earned.  If you tell your customer you are going to do something for them, deliver on a certain day or call them back, DO IT.  Don’t make promises that can not keep.  A good philosophy is never make excuse, under promise and always over deliver. If you loose the trust of your customers, not only is that trust gone, so is your customer.

Are you listening to what your customers are NOT saying? 

As service providers, we are trained and conditioned to identify and learn about our customers’ needs and wants by listening to what they are saying.   As vital as this listening process can be, sometimes we overlook the obvious.  What is NOT being said?  Are we really listening or do we fail to read between the lines and ask the questions that get to real answers?   When the actions of a customer begin to speak louder than his/her words, stop and assess what’s really going on. Remember knowing your customer and developing trust will keep the lines of communication open on both sides.

Is the customer always right? 

I think that the answer will vary depending on who you ask.  Ask the customers and the answer will be an unequivocally YES.  Ask an employee and the answer will probably be just as straightforward, NO.  What will the boss say?  The own/boss/manager, wants the customers to be happy, but at the same time needs to show support to their staff.   What to do and make everyone happy?

I propose the following customer service philosophy.  The customer is not always right. Now before the employees break into the “Happy Dance” and the owners blow a gasket, keep reading.  NO, the customer is not always right, BUT, they should always be treated as if they are right, because if you don’t, there is someone down the street who is just waiting to treat YOUR customer anyway they want to be treated.

Can you see the value of knowing your customers from top to bottom?  Are you building their trust?  Do you understand what makes your customers tick, why they say what they say and what they really mean when they say what they say or do what they do?

Take the time to learn all you can about your customers.  The knowledge gathered regarding your customers and yourself will make the process of growing your business easier and will bring a smile to the faces of all your customers and a big old grin to yours.

James R. Carson is a teacher, facilitator and advisor whose dynamic yet common sense approach to success and growth has been presented to and implemented in the educational, faith-based, business, and personal settings. His ability to “see things as they are and to do things as they ought to be done” is the foundation and core of his Common Sense Teaching. James is the author of “ABCs of Business Gardening” – a mini eBook and “Profit Through Customer Service” an online business training.

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