How to keep customers happy is a hard lesson to learn. At least it was for me. 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 most likely was something you could’ve and should’ve done. If the relationship with the lost client cannot be salvaged, 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
Customers want updates, and most don’t want to have to initiate the contact. Customers have communication preferences, and it’s up to you, the provider, to determine if they prefer an email, call, or visit. They don’t want to be put off or ignored; when a client asks for information—they wanted it an hour ago.
Tell the Truth
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.
Make it Personal
Treating your customers like friends makes it difficult for them to leave you. Of course, you must deliver a good product at a fair price, but knowing your customers’ preferences goes a long way. How would you treat a friend who bought your product?
Be on Time
No, be early to the meeting for a conference call and deliver the 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
Be professional in appearance, demeanor, and presentation. Don’t present an idea to a customer on a napkin. Create outstanding collateral material; use PowerPoint presentations, and product mock-ups. If not, someone who is 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 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 reply.
If you spend your client time pitching your customers 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 be favorable to your customer’s needs? So, is it a lie to not thoroughly explain pricing, invoicing, and payment? 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 if you were in their shoes?
If you’re unorganized and unprepared, you’ll be un-customer-erd.
If You Don’t Make Them Happy, Someone Will
Knowing how to keep customers happy takes a commitment to professionalism, your customers, and your organization to do what is needed to retain customers. However, committing the time and energy required to keep your customers happy is still less expensive and less time-consuming than trying to replace them.
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.
Are You in Sales Management?
Are you leading people or managing projects? Do you set goals based on activities to continue, eliminate, or improve or do you strictly look at the results? Do you believe one sales strategy fits all your clients and all your sales team? If so, you’re walking the streets I paved, and those streets lead to disappointment. The good news is if you recognize these behaviors in yourself, you can change. I did. I eventually became a highly effective sales manager and so can you. This workbook is the place to start. The New Sales Managers Workbook