• Sumo

We all want to increase sales, but how many small businesses actually wow their customers?  It’s called customer service in old parlance.  “If Michael is representative, I know immediately I want to do business with that company.”

I’m sitting in a busy reception, typical me several minutes early.  People watching…fascinating!

There is a steady stream, mostly looking very keen to get into their offices.

But what is most noticeable is Michael.  Michael stands behind the grand reception desk, master of his domain.  Not sitting!

“Good morning, how are you?” “Good morning, well thanks.”  “Good morning, Nancy.”  “Good morning, Sir.”

How many times can one person cheerfully say good morning?  A lot, apparently.

Michael copes with visitors swiftly, knows where people need to go, and is in command of the massive car park…

”I wonder, could you park in “F” this morning, we have a big meeting today.”

His efficiency is mixed with energy and charm.

It’s called customer service in old parlance.

If Michael is representative, I know immediately I want to do business with that company.

This begs the question:  Are your customers coming back often enough?

Simply put, good customer service results will increase sales.

What are you doing to retain your customers and keep their attention and hence increase sales?  Do you have a Customer Experience plan?

How do you make sure they never think of going anywhere else for your products or services and how do you get them to buy more frequently?  A large part of the answer to this is in the after-sales service you provide.

But more than anything, it is about putting yourself in their shoes, which means knowing your market…really well.  Then think through, from your customer’s perspective, every interaction and contact point between you and them.  What experience do you want them to have?  And put in place strategies to ensure that is the experience they get.

Delivering your product or service in an exceptional way, making sure the customer has all the information they need to benefit from it.  Reminding them from time to time about the benefits they can derive from your product.

This latter idea, mixed in with regular, informative not just ‘salesy’ communication will keep you in front of mind and increase sales.

But be very sensitive.  Know your customers, because mis-timed or inappropriate communication can do more harm than good.

A simple example, if a customer is having a problem with your product, perhaps you or one of your team are in discussion with them, this may not be the best time to remind them what a wonderful product it is (in your on-hold message, for example).

Last Christmas I booked online to take my daughter and 3 of her friends to a pantomime.  I chose a Saturday.  When we got there, would you believe there was no show.  It had finished a week earlier and the online booking system had messed up.

The manager was very apologetic and assured me I would get my money back.  Well of course, that would be minimum as we hadn’t been to a show.

But what else were they going to do by way of apology.  Apparently nothing.  I wrote a letter saying I was a little intrigued and a lot miffed.

A few days later I received an envelope from the theatre.  I thought “good sign”.  However, inside was a promotion for next year’s pantomime.  The letter started off “I’m sure the magic of our last pantomime is still fresh in your mind…”

I would say that was inappropriate timing, wouldn’t you?

Now a suggestion.

If you offer a service, is there a tool you could create to support follow-up to your service?

If you sell a product, you could write a “fool’s guide” (with a more polite title) to help the user get the most from the product.  Not a “how to use”, but a “how to benefit”.

First, check that the customer has received and is generally happy with your product and then send your guide or support tool as a thank you for doing business.

If they are reading from your booklet whenever they use your product, it will be much harder for them to buy the next one from someone else.

Customer retention is the first step to Raving Fans, and Raving Fans sell your product or service for you.  Having customers sell you and for you will result in increased sales.

Originally posted on MumsandBusiness.com