Customer loyalty is earned by being great, not satisfactory. Aim to be exceptional in your business. Deliver world-class customer service. Service that’s better than anyone else in your industry. That’s how you become great, and how you attract loyal customers. You have set yourself apart from the competition.
Let’s say you own a plumbing business — Plumb Rite. Set out to provide prompt, efficient service, with friendly workers who can explain the service they offer, and deliver quickly, well and affordably.
Satisfactory Is Not Good Enough. Be World Class!
Be remarkable. When you finish repairing a leak, you want your customers to go, “Wow, how good were those guys!”
Remember your customers’ names and where they live. Give them discounts, or free services where it’s warranted. Meet them in person and explain repairs to them.
While you should be aware of your competition, don’t simply replicate what they do. Maybe they’re terrible. Rather provide the best customer service you possibly can. Being satisfactory means you’ll be part of the bunch. Rather be great and stand out from the herd.
First, consider what customer service actually means. Do you make the lives of your customers easier? Too many businesses make the sale, and then move on. True customer service has a long-term outlook.
Once you’ve efficiently handled a customer’s business and sent her on her way with a smile and a friendly greeting, your work is not yet done.
Part of serving her needs is following up and making sure that everything is in order, after the sale is complete. After all, you are building a LASTING customer relationship.
Let’s say you run a camping store selling essential gear to the camping and outdoor community. A woman named Tumi comes into your store. She’s not really into camping, but she needs a tent.
You enquire what she needs a tent for and learn that there’s a music festival coming up in Mpumalanga this weekend. There are no chalets available, so camping is the only option. She needs a tent.
You recommend a leisure tent, help her pick the right colour, give her a brief tutorial on how to put it up and send her on her way. This is an awesome opportunity to follow up with some after-sales service once she returns from her camping weekend.
This is go-the-extra-mile time
Give Tumi a call the next week and — as professionally as possible — ask how she enjoyed her tent. Was she able to put it up without too much trouble? Was it warm enough? None of the zips malfunctioned?
This emphasises that customer service comprises service before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale.
Some other opportunities for good after-sales service:
- A travel agent following up with a client during and after their holiday ensure everything went according to plan.
- A butcher recommends a cut of meat to a customer. The next time he comes in, the butcher asks, “How was that kudu steak you bought last time?”
- Cross-selling once you’ve made a sale. A parent brings their child into Toy Kingdom. You remember you’ve sold them an Elsa Frozen dress. “How about these lovely Frozen slippers to go with your Elsa dress?”
- An automated SMS to thank customers once they pay their cellphone account.
More than anything, following up shows you care. You want your customer to be satisfied more than you want her money. We’re also building a relationship that’s going to outlast this single transaction. Good after-sales service drives word-of-mouth recommendations and helps set you apart from your competition.