Getting new customers may not always be easy, but keeping them is even harder. The trick to customer support is to sell something, send your customer away satisfied, and have her want to come back to you the next time she needs something. To do this, you and your customer need to connect…transcend the customer/salesman persona and establish a more long-term relationship.
Here are some tips on how to do just that:
- Never promise to provide an item, discount, or service to a customer than you cannot, or will not be able to follow through on – One of the worst practices is promising delivery dates that you have no control over. Tell people the truth. And then keep track of what was promised and do everything in your power to make it happen.
- Phone communication – Make it easy for your customer to reach you by phone. Nothing is more frustrating than believing you are being avoided when you are calling about a purchase. If you don’t have employees to answer your phone, give your customer a cell phone number where you can be reached…even if you haven’t got the answer yet, you can assure him that you are working on it.
- Your employees represent you, so train them to be polite, knowledgeable, and helpful – Impatience, inattentive demeanor, and condescending behavior on the part of your sales people will lose you customers and positive recommendations.
- Handle complaints quickly and sympathetically – It is good to have a return policy, but it can produce very negative feelings if the customer is treated badly at the time.
- Help your customer to locate what she is looking for – When a frazzled mom with two kids hanging on her leg cannot find what she needs, telling her it is ten aisles away is apt to make her shrug and walk out. Better walk them right to what she is looking for! You have a sale, and a grateful return customer.
- If you don’t have what she is looking for help her find a store that she can get it at. She will appreciate the effort, and you’ve made a friend.
- Provide a treat with a sale – A bookmark placed in a new book, a dog biscuit for your dog, a sucker for the kids, or glass of water on a hot day, will make them feel special.
- Answer questions patiently – Not everyone is a genius when it comes to reading user manuals.