Seven Ways to Make Your Customers Feel Important
Two important pre-reading notes: Before you chose to read or not read this article, let make two things clear. Everyone has Customers. Even if you work in an internal staff department in a large firm, you have Customers. They are the people you provide work to. And second, donít be put off by the term Customer. Maybe you call them Clients, Students, Patients, or (heaven forbid!) Users.
If one of those words works better for you, read that word every time you read Customer. Now that I have eliminated your reasons for not reading, please continue . We can read lots of books and articles about Customer Service strategies and how to build processes that will serve Customers more successfully.
All of these things are valuable, but if we put all of our focus on processes, systems, strategies and procedures we may lose track of something very important. Customers are people first. This means that each of your Customers, like everyone else, wants to feel important. It a universal truth - we all want that feeling, and will gravitate towards those that make us feel that way. Hint: Having Customers gravitate towards you is a very good thing. Here are seven ways that you as an individual, regardless of any corporate policies or systems, can make Customers feel more important, written from the Customerís perspective: Please use my name. I know I may have a Customer or registration number and that I might need to give that to you. But I also know that once you put that number in the system, you know my name. Use it. If I hand you my credit card, now you know my name too.
Please use it. I want to be a part of the ďinĒ crowd. Thatís why I like being invited into Frequent Flyer clubs, frequent buyer clubs or anything that provides me with discounts, special services, education or surprises. If you have this kind of club, invite me to join. If you donít have one yet, please think about starting one. Ask me for my advice. I have an opinion, and if asked in the right way, at the right time, when I know you really care about the answer, Iíll give you that advice. Opinion cards may be OK, but I would love to be asked personally. Give me the chance to tell you what I think, and Iíll reward you with more of my business. I donít often get asked for my opinion and it feels good.
And who knows, you might even get a great idea for a new product or service. Acknowledge me. I know you are busy sometimes. I can see the line. I even understand that your system might be down, or that you have five people in the phone queue. Iíve been there, I work too. But when I call or come by, acknowledge that I am there and let me know you are glad Iím in the line. A smile and a hello, or a ďWeíll be with you shortlyĒ will go a long way. Acknowledge me and Iíll understand. Ignore me, and well, how do you feel when youíve been ignored? Surprise me.
A little extra something with my order or a hand written note would be nice. A special discount ďjust becauseĒ or a free sample of dessert. It doesnít have to be a big thing, and it doesnít have to be every time. If you get a good surprise, do you want to share it with others? Me too. Apologize. I hate it when people try to prove they were right, or donít mention that fact that the order is three days late, or the surcharge canít be removed, or the item is out of stock. But again, I know things do happen. When things do go wrong though, please give me a simple apology. Hereís the funniest thing.
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