How we treat our clients is key to standing out from the crowd.
These days it's not enough to just sell a great product, or provide a useful service; it's about the delivery, and the way you handle your customers throughout the process.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
We know that the way you treat your customers before and during the purchase of your product or service affects whether they will buy from you, and how much they will buy from you, right? But you should also understand that the way you treat your customers afterwards is equally as important. Why?
Well, because a lasting, positive impression means that not only with those customers be more likely to repurchase from you in the future, they will also be more likely to recommend your business, therefore increasing your chances of referrals.
Read my post on the Net Promoter Score to find out how to measure this.
pre-purchase customer service
What sort of things am I talking about? Here are some examples:
- Greeting & welcoming customers into your shop/cafe
- Any dialogue with the customer while they're browsing
- Dealing with enquiries via phone/email
- Replies on social media and forums
We all know that when we're dealing with the customer, we should be happy, sympathetic and willing at all times; you don't need me to tell you that! However, here are some ideas for what you can do to improve this step in the customer's journey:
# Do a Starbucks and ask the customer's name! Make it personal & introduce yourself first.
# Ask what they're looking for to better understand their needs - then help them as best you can!
# Tell the customer a story about an item or about the premises/history of the business.
# Always say thank you for getting in touch via email or phone; manners are important!
# Use the customer's name when replying to emails or on social media (depending on formality of course, you may want to use 'Mr. Surname' instead).
# Be gushingly helpful. For God's sakes if someone asks about prices, don't refer them to your price page on the website - just tell them there and then!
# Add humour in if you can; people appreciate light-heartedness in sales-y situations.
# Make the customer feel special by offering them something exclusive, or making them know that 'you don't always do this for people'...
In-purchase customer service
Here are some examples of what this might look like:
- Doing a transaction at the till or on the phone
- Waiting on the customer during their meal
- Any interactions with the customer during the service provided
It's obviously a key moment in the customer's journey, and even though they've already made the decision to purchase, you don't want to make them regret that decision. Here are some ideas to make this part of the process smooth and special:
# Provide something extra for free that the customer wasn't expecting.
# Ensure payment processes are smooth and easy to follow (no more than 5 steps for online checkouts! 3 is better...).
# Provide instructions or a guide on how to use the product, or about the service they're buying
# Be patient and don't rush the client through this process - they're handing over their money to you!
# Give them your full attention; don't keep up the conversation with your colleague at the same time as being with a customer. It's plain rude.
post-purchase customer service
This could include any of the following:
- Providing support/help after the purchase
- Dealing with complaints
- Asking for reviews/testimonials
- Post-purchase email marketing & offers
If you're working on your NPS metrics, this is one of the most important steps. Even if they customer did not enjoy their product or service, this part of the journey provides you with the opportunity to win them back and flip the situation around. Here are some tips:
# Again, address by name! It's so much more personal.
# Don't refer the customer to previous 'tickets' or 'threads' when providing support; treat every customer as unique.
# Handle complaints like a pro; unearth the issue and solve it. Where you can't solve the problem, go above and beyond to win them back - offer vouchers, free stuff etc. and let them know that their problem will be sorted for next time.
# Ask for feedback via a short survey, perhaps offer an incentive (eg. 20% off next purchase).
# Keep marketing materials relevant; use customer targeting where you can.
# Remember the customer - whether you use software to track their birthdays, or you have a small number of clients meaning you can remember details easily.
# For larger clients in B2B situations, use the '5 Whys' method of solving disputes or issues to get to the root.
# Feature them on your website, but ask permission first.
# Create a private group for clients; either on Facebook, Slack or LinkedIn. Turn it into a mastermind group so your clients can learn from each other. This works well for coaches, designers, marketing consultants etc.
How do you make your customers feel special?