If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably heard someone comment, “The customer is always right.” While this is a nice idea, it’s a hard one to live up to. Sometimes there are rules that you can’t bend, and sometimes your customers make unreasonable demands. Still, there are many ways to show your customers that you value them. Here is your guide to the top seven.
1. Answer the Phone
It may seem obvious, but answering the phone when your customers call with new orders, questions, or complaints is one of the best ways to demonstrate your appreciation. At the same time, making it to the phone probably isn’t your priority if you’re understaffed and overworked. If you don’t have the funds for a full-time receptionist and your office is so loud that you miss calls, invest in an answering service. These services provide you with call answerers at a separate location who have enough information to accurately represent your company. They can also forward calls to you or another employee if they don’t have enough knowledge to handle the call.
2. Listen to Customers
Once you’ve received a customer call through an answering service such as VoiceNation, you need to listen to your client. It’s very easy to talk on the phone with an angry customer as you answer your email, plan your day, or fill out expense reports. Your customers can tell if you’re distracted or multitasking while you take their criticisms or requests, though, and few things are more irritating. When customers take the time to call you, show them respect by listening to their feedback, taking notes, and offering solutions.
3. Think About Your Prices
You have to charge a certain amount of money for your services or products, or else you’ll go bankrupt. When you’re meeting with your sales teams or investors to discuss a price change, though, think about your customers. Are your prices reflective of how much production costs, taking your employees’ labor and material prices into account? Are they fair for how long your customers can use your products? Your customers will probably feel cheated or betrayed if your prices are prohibitively high or you raise them with no explanation.
4. Hold Sales
Even if you choose competitive prices, hold sales at least once a year, and pick a time that relates to your products or mission statement. For example, Arbor Day is a good time for companies that manufacture hiking goods, and International Women’s Day is great for businesses that specialize in women’s clothes. Next, pick your sale type. If you need to get rid of some of your old inventory, offer a buy-one, get-one deal. More traditional sales when you offer a certain percentage off one item or entire transactions work well, too. If you pair a sale with an aggressive marketing campaign, you boost sales enough to make up for your discounted prices.
5. Know Your Audience
Chances are, your products don’t appeal to every single person who could walk into your store. If you have a well-designed product, though, there is a group of people who wants or needs your products badly. For best results, figure out who this group is and target your advertisements, customer service lines, and return policies to them. For example, if your target market is high schoolers, you should prioritize advertising on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. On the other hand, if your market is working moms, you need flexible return policies.
If you’re not sure who your target market is, send out some customer surveys to find out who is buying your products. Ask about your customers’ ages, gender identities, hobbies, locations, incomes, and reasons for choosing your products. Work with an analyst to look for trends and make useful generalizations about your market, such as the times they’re most likely to visit your store. Then, update your policies to better reflect your market’s needs.
6. Boost Your Website
No one likes slogging through a website with links that don’t work, widgets that are just images, and tons of ads. Take a look at your website and see how user-friendly it is. If it’s been a while since you updated things, work with a web designer to launch a new site that features user-experience design. Don’t forget to optimize it for mobile use, too. For best results, include features such as online ordering services and customer loyalty programs.
7. Be Flexible
Sometimes you can’t get around a rule because it would be unsafe or costly. Whenever possible, though, be flexible with your customers. If people have good reasons for turning in their returns late, try to get them a discount. If you absolutely can’t help, explain why.
Follow these seven tips to show your customers that you value their patronage.