How to keep customers happy or lose them is too often ignored until it’s too late. When was the last time a customer fired you? Have you ever been surprised by a customer leaving you? It’s never a good situation, but it’s worse when you realize there was something you could have done. And if a customer left you for a competitor, there was something you could’ve and should’ve done. If you cannot save the relationship with the lost client, at least you can take a hard look at why you lost your customer and work towards avoiding the same with other customers.
How to Keep Customers Happy or Lose Them
What Makes Customers Happy
Customers want updates, and they don’t want to have to initiate contact. Customers have communication preferences, and it’s up to you, the provider, to determine if they prefer an email, call, or visit. Because, they don’t want to be put off or ignored; when a client asks for information—they wanted it an hour ago.
The surest way to begin down the path to losing a customer is to over-promise; when a company under-delivers, the customer starts to doubt and suspect every action and correspondence. It’s not a fun path to be on. Don’t surprise customers with invoice add-ons or undisclosed exceptions. Be upfront.
Making it personal
Treating your customer like a friend makes it difficult for them to leave you. Of course, you have to deliver a good product at a fair price, but knowing your customer, their preferences, hobbies, and family goes a long way.
Be early to the meeting, on a conference call, or delivering a product. None of us have enough hours in the day in this hustle-bustle world we live in, and if you make your customers wait—you may be waiting a long time.
Show your professionalism In appearance, demeanor, and presentation. Don’t present an idea to a customer on a napkin. Create outstanding collateral material, use professional presentations, and product mock-ups. If not, someone more professional will steal your customer away. Take the time to research their industry and get to know your customer’s niche. Send a thank you card, yes, through the mail, and occasionally send a promotional gift.
Listen to your customer. Ask questions. Learn what their needs are and find solutions.
Send a customer satisfaction survey, call or visit, and ask for criticism. Learn what you and your company could do better, what else you should offer, and where you fail to meet your client’s expectations.
What Makes Customers Unhappy
Over-promising and under-delivering
Overselling delivery time, quality, or function is the fastest way to lose a customer.
Lack of timely information and follow up
When a customer calls—answer your phone. When they email, respond when you open the email; if you have time to open it, you have time to answer.
If you spend your client time pitching your customer rather than determining and fulfilling their needs, they’ll pitch you—out the door.
Forgetting their name
People don’t want to be a number. They want to matter. They want you to make them feel important, and aren’t they?
Not only out-and-out lies but lies by omission. Is it a lie to omit important product information because it may not suit your customer’s needs or not completely explain pricing, invoicing, and payment? And is it a lie to sell an inferior product to hold the price down when a superior product is better suited to the customer’s needs? Would your customer consider these lies? Would you in their shoes?
If you’re unorganized and unprepared, you’ll be un-customer-erd
If You Don’t Make Them Happy, Someone Will
It takes a commitment to professionalism, your customer, and to your organization to do what is needed to retain customers. Because committing the time and energy required to keep your customers happy is still less expensive and less time-consuming to replace them. How do you keep your customers happy?
How Can I Help You?
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.
Does your business have a management training plan? Businesses and universities use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. I’m also available to conduct training.
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