Here are 51 ways to get closer to the real boss – your customer!
- Make it a policy to return all inquiry or complaint calls within one hour.
- Set a goal to resolve every complaint within 24-hours. Then shorten it to 12.
- Make it a point to personally call or better yet, visit a large crosssection of your customers. Ask them how you can better serve them.
- Personally call non-customers. Listen to why they are NOT buying from you.
- Send out thank you notes to both new and regular customers or clients.
- Send out 1000 cards a month – Birthday, Thanksgiving, New Year – whatever. Make sure they hear from you somehow 5-6 times a year.
- Install a customer “hot line”.
- Put up signs all over the place saying “(our company) MEANS SERVICE.” Put it on your letterhead, on uniforms; tattoo it on your foreheads.
- Have your top staff personally answer complaints.
- Make the product or service you sell a customer OVERWHELMINGLY cost justifiable from the customer’s standpoint.
- Take a “How Are We Doing?” survey of your customers at least every six months.
- Have your top management people make sales calls regularly.
- Become a growth-partner with each of your customers.
- Encourage innovation – from your employees and your customers.
- Listen to everyone. Ideas come from anywhere.
- Avoid moderation in all things.
- You can measure service. Do it! Everyone!
- Study the leaders in other industries. Examples: Fed-X for delivery. Xerox for quality. AutoZone, Nordstrom, L.L. Bean for service. How can you adapt?
- Have everybody who works in your operations area go along on at least five sales calls per year.
- Make sure that everybody takes customer relations training (and graduates).
- Act as though you are always on the verge of losing every customer.
- Conduct “exit interviews” with every customer you lose. Have your CEO do some of them.
- Install some form of group bonus based on reducing customer turnover.
- Conduct a group brainstorm at least once a month on “How can we make customer service even better than it is now?”
- Add a service incentive program.
- Start a service-to-the customer drive. Do it with lots of “hoopla.”
- Let quality and service be your goal instead of growth. The growth will come.
- Let your people know every time they do something that gives extraordinary service to the customer. Reward them at small ceremonies.
- Combine sales & service into the same function.
- Dock the commission of the sales-person every time you lose a customer no matter who was the original salesperson. (A tough one that communicates the message that servicing the account is just as important as getting it.)
- Understand that you are in the PEOPLE business first-everything else is in second place.
- Never allow your customer to feel they’ve been victimized.
- Make it easy for your customers to build a strong trust relationship with you.
- Understand that the faster you help your customer, the more they will appreciate how much you value their time.
- If something goes wrong, take personal responsibility. Don’t blame your company… say you’ll take care of the problem. Even if you didn’t cause it.
- Be over-responsive to customer needs and suggestions.
- Have group brainstorms on how can we make customer service even better than it is now?
- Don’t knock or belittle a competitor! Your competitor may be just as good a person as you – possibly better; and it you don’t keep your eyes open, he/she may have a good chance to prove it!
- Never break a promise to a customer, whatever the cost. Always keep your word. One failure raises doubt-the next one raises the roof.
- Seek existing customers opinions about your new ideas or prospective products.
- If you’ve turned a situation with a customer over to someone else, follow-up to see if everything worked out as expected.
- Out serve your competition!
- Make it easy for customer to express any dissatisfaction. Give them “How Are We Doing” forms. Put the completed forms on the bulletin board every week. Post a graph for all to see… tracking customer satisfaction.
- Become a conscious consumer. Carry a notebook and write down the things that really irritate you as a buyer. Then correct similar things as you deal with customers at your own place of business.
- Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm. The service person that serves with a deadpan attitude might just as well work in the cemetery. Customers want vim, vigor, and vitality!
- Don’t let yourself get too thin-skinned. It takes a tough hide to be a salesperson that can take it, and bounce back smiling.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for the order! What do you think your customeris doing – making a social call? If pleasure interferes with your business, who do you think is going to draw down your next paycheck?
- Don’t be too sure your customer is a dumbbell. He/she may turn the tables on you and prove to be as dumb as a fox!
- Sweat the details. Take care of the small stuff.
- Take every chance to talk quality and brand. There’s a definite return to quality buying and every bit of it affects you directly and indirectly.
- Want to know how to treat the customer? Simple! Just like you want (expect) to be treated when you’re the customer.
- Always remember to thank your customers for their business.
And… Thank You!
Ty Boyd Enterprises
1727 Garden Terrace
Charlotte, NC 28203
Toll free 800/336-2693