Saturday, January 06, 2007

Create a Happy Customer And Then Some.....

As a business owner, we live to satisfy our customers. It's a symbiotic relationship! While it's good to have happy customers, it's great to have customers who are happy and then some....

Here are 6 tips for creating a customer who is happy and then some:

  1. When you can't help your customer with what he needs.... Tell him someone who can. Go so far as to give them a name, phone number, address and directions.

  2. See a magazine or newspaper article about your client's industry? Cut it out and mail it to them with a sticky note from you. Better yet, if you see your client quoted (in a positive way) in print, cut it out and mail it to him.

  3. Provide a discount or something for free even when your customer is happy. Many times we provide pricing concessions or free stuff to our customers when they are mad. Usually the concession is a way of making "good" on something that went "wrong." Create loyalty with your clients by mailing them a free car wash certificate, a coupon to be redeemed at your business or a $10 gift card to Starbucks.

  4. Follow up after the work is done. Car manufacturers do this religiously. A few days after they repair your car they call you to ask about your experience. Even doctor's offices call a few days after your visit to see how you are feeling. Often we feel our job is done for the customer once work is complete and the check has cleared. Increase the chances of good word of mouth about your business by checking in with your client a few days or weeks after the job is done. Follow up in person or via the phone - not by mail or email. The human touch will have the biggest impact.

  5. Say what you are going to do and do what you say - NO EXCEPTIONS. If you say, "I'll see you at 7:00," - then be there! If you see you will be even 5 minutes late call your customer and tell them. If you say, "The job will be complete by Friday," - it better be done on Friday! If customers know you are good for your word they will be your biggest fan and, even better, they will feel confident in referring you to others.

  6. It's okay to sandbag. This is the cousin of the saying, "under promise and over deliver." Think how happy you would be with your plumber if he fixed your problem a day early. Think how good you would make your client look if he saved his company 10% more than anticipated. And think how jazzed you would be if the coupon you took to the store was doubled in value when you went to check out!

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