Your Best Customers
Companies on average lose 50 percent of their customers every five years. Sixty-six percent of those customers leave due to poor customer care, according to the Yankee Group. And it's five to ten times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one, says PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Simply put, current customers are a gold mine, and your revenue-generating strategies should start with building loyalty with the customers you already have.
Building loyalty begins (and ends) with organizing your entire business to focus on the needs of customers. Here are a few tips to help achieve this end:
Make customer care a key part of your complete business strategy - Everyone in your department should understand that at any point in time what is most important is their ability to effectively serve the customer. Nothing takes precedence over helping a customer!
Make sure you or any employee having contact with customers has access to all the information needed to be of service - It is important that everyone on your team be informed not only about the product that you carry, but about delivery schedules, industry news and updates, etc. Being able to eliminate the phrase “I don’t know” is true customer service.
Give employees the power to make certain decisions independently - A well trained staff is critical in your customer care. The more customers know that they can go to anyone in your department to get the answers or decision-making that they need, the better service you are providing.
Make sure everyone on your team has good basic communication skills - Product knowledge and merchandising skills are a great asset to any department, but it is also important to train and encourage effective communication skills. Having conversation with customers is vital to your sales and overall profitability and should be viewed as a necessary skill.
Think of ways to make life easier for customers - Observe your customers as they go through their shopping experience at your store. Pay attention to what looks easy and what looks challenging. Focus on eliminating that which seems challenging.
Always keep your promises - Only promise what you can deliver. If you tell a customer that strawberries will be in on Friday and the berries do not arrive, but your customer does arrive and they are expecting fresh berries, then you have created a disappointing experience for your customer. Don’t over-promise and don’t under-deliver.
Ask existing customers what you could do better- As you develop relationships with your customers, ask them what you can do better; how you can better service their needs. No one can better help you understand how to provide the best customer service than those you are trying to serve.
In short, put your customers and their needs first, get it done right, and be as professional as possible at every step along the way.