Do You Alienate Your Customers?

November 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm

ImageI was really impressed by examples of some great customer service on a trip to the UK this month and it felt like businesses there were pulling out all the stops to give the best customer experience they could, in response to lower demand and stronger competition.

For once I felt that they really wanted my custom and were willing to do something about it.

These experiences left me certain that when I wanted to buy those products again I would definitely go back to the same company – can you say the same for how customers feel about your business?

A good relationship with your customers starts with delivering a great first time buying experience but is then maintained by staying in touch with them in a way that suits them, and gives them value plus free information and content. Then they will, in the main, be happy to have that contact with you, because you are not trying to sell to them all the time but are offering free advice and something valuable or useful to them.

For example if you are a service business and have a new promotion running how do you let your existing customer base know about it? Before my UK trip I went to my regular hair salon and found out I had just missed out on a 30% off offer by a couple of days. Didn’t they think I would want to know about that and that it would encourage me to come back earlier? I would have been very unhappy if they hadn’t extended the offer for me there and then.

So it’s easy to alienate customers without really knowing it.

Keeping in touch and maintaining relationships with your customers means you:

  • Reinforce your reputation and expertise
  • Keep your company in their mind when its time for them to buy again – they are familiar with you and likely to be loyal
  • Build your relationship increasing their level of trust in you
  • All of these mean they are more likely to recommend you to others

So how do you avoid alienation?

It depends of course on your type of business, so apply these ideas where they fit:

1. Follow up with your customer after any purchase either by phone or email, to check all is well and they are totally happy. If you uncover a problem you have the chance to make it right.

2. Ask them for occasional feedback on their purchases and on being your customer – this could be at the time of purchase or later by phone or email. They will feel valued, it’s the only way to find out what they really think and it’s a great way to get a testimonial.

3. Be consistent in your delivery and service and always deliver on your promises – if you can’t, tell the customer why.

4. Get their permission before you add them to your mailing list and only send relevant information and promotions – create a ‘non salesy’ email newsletter for them containing useful free information that they value.

5. Make sure you share details of all promotions and special offers with your existing customer base, or even better create offers exclusively for them – make them feel special. Don’t do the opposite and give your existing customers less favourable prices or terms than new customers.

6. Thank customers for recommendations and referrals – or even better reward them in some way for doing this.

A lot of these points are just good business practice but often the details get missed in the general day to day running of your business. This is why it’s useful to have a process defined for you so you can refer to this to keep on track.

For more ideas and help in keeping in touch with your customers apply for our free marketing audit.

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Entry filed under: Business Growth, Customer Service & Satisfaction, Uncategorized.

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