I was listening to Patsy Cline sing, “Do you Have Leaving on Your Mind?” She’s asking her lover to tell her if he wants out. Customers rarely tell you their leaving—they just go.
The years 2008 and 2009 were tough years on many businesses. When the dust cleared you found you had lost many of your “regulars.” Sure some of this was due to the economy, but how much of it was due to “negligence” on your part?
The statistics in 2014 are no different than they were 20 years ago.
68% of customers leave because of the treatment they receive and 71% specifically said because they received poor customer service. Here are some ideas for keeping those “cheatin” customers.
1. Make it easy for them to talk with you. Is your voice mail filled to the brim? Do you resist picking up the phone when you’re really not that busy? The nicest thing you can do for a customer is to answer their phone call or at least sending a quick text that you will can back in a few. I love the phone app that sends a text to callers telling them you’re driving, and you will call back once you reach your destination.
2. Have you noticed them in the “box” stores? After my gym workout, I stop at one of the “box” stores to be nosy. I walk the departments to look for signs of “cheating customers.” You know the type; they’re laughing and getting friendly with the store clerks. They are hanging around making small talk. Good businesses know that small talk can lead to big sales. Maybe the customer just needs a friendly hello?
3. How good are your salespeople at “small talk?” Some clerks are “all business” and forget that before business there’s small talk or building rapport. People still buy from people they like and feel comfortable with.
4. Can you get your customers to follow you—everywhere? If you want to get follow, it should be “around the Internet.” Are customers connected to you in the usual places— Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, Houzz and to your blog? Do they like what you post?
5. Be “nicer than nice.” Do your employees have the latitude to go out of their way for your customers or does everything have to be cleared through the manager? As a customer, we all want to speak with someone in authority.
Why not give your salespeople “perks” to share with complaining I was watching an undercover complainer at Zappos. She said she didn’t want the shoes, and the clerk said she should return them, and she would give her a free pair! This might be tough on your business, but a coupon on the next purchase shouldn’t be. Zappos motto, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with a WOW!”
“Without customer service, a customer doesn’t have any customers, good sales don’t necessarily bring back customers, but good customer service does.”
Lisbeth has been teaching businesses how to improve their customer service and the customer experience for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or speak at your business, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. If she’s not in her office, she can often be found mornings at the YMCA in East Greenbush.