Good customer service has always been important, but today it is absolutely essential to make your business stand out from the competition.
Treating your customers in the right way can be beneficial for business, and it can also double-up as a basic bit of marketing. Building and maintaining a positive reputation for your brand will lead to customers talking about the quality of service they experienced. Positive reviews can lead to new customers, and so the importance of good customer service can’t be underestimated.
To guarantee the success – and survival – of your business, it’s essential to put your customers at the centre of your operations. Here’s our best advice on how to build a good customer relationship.
Service with a smile
Back to basics with this one, but good relationships are built on good foundations. Acknowledging your customers with a smile and a “hello/good morning/good afternoon” lets them know that you’re aware of them.
Read more: 10 tried-and-tested customer service mantras
Make sure that your staff are as consistent as you are, too; ensuring that your employees can deal with a customer quickly and politely reflects well on you as the business owner. Just as importantly, your staff should know how to deal with a problematic customer. Again, the focus here is on manners and efficiency, but they must also be able to relate to the customer on an emotional level, as well as being capable of negotiation and de-escalating any issues.
Building rapport and going the extra mile
Developing a relationship with customers is the next logical step, allowing you to tailor your service to them and make the transaction a little more personal. This is contextual, and could vary by industry; generally speaking, anything which shows you going above and beyond will resonate with the customer as special treatment, and is likely to encourage them to return.
If your business is a shop, for example, stocking something that’s been personally requested by a loyal shopper demonstrates that you’re willing to make the extra effort to keep them as a customer.
If you’re in the hospitality industry, something as simple as knowing what your customers like to order, whether it’s their food or drink, shows that you pay attention to attention to them.
This behaviour has longevity: customers can appreciate the personal touch and are likely to make the effort to keep returning. Incentives like loyalty cards are another way of encouraging your customers to keep coming back.
A little goes a long way; even just chatting with or getting to know your customers is enough to kick-start a good relationship.
When a business makes clear that their customers are important, it can foster brand loyalty and ensure return; a happy customer is a loyal customer, and (like all clichés) there’s truth at the heart of this one.