Because of the central importance the customer has to everything you do in business, you obviously need to make sure that you are always keeping them happy. That, of course, means that you have to know what they actually want – what will keep them happy, in other words, and why.
That can take plenty of research, trial and error, and more than a little analysis to get to the bottom of. In part, that’s because it is fluid, the kind of phenomenon which is likely to alter and change a little over time. But even given that, there are certain aspects to customer care which are most likely always going to remain, to a greater or lesser degree. Those are what you need to identify.
It can be equally helpful to think about what it is that you really shouldn’t do. By being clear on what to avoid, you will get a fuller and stronger sense of what to do, and that is something that will only lead to happier customers. So what are some of the quickest and surest ways to lose your customers – and how can you avoid those things as much as possible?
Don’t Answer The Call
In essence, you need to be there for your customer, day in, day out. If you are not, then they will only feel that your business is not entirely trustworthy, and that will lead very quickly to a rapid loss of customers across the board. The question of how to be there for them is of course important here, but it is the kind of thing that should be fairly straightforward compared to many other aspects of dealing with your customers. You don’t have to offer all kinds of customer service contact – but any that you do offer need to be adhered to, and if you fail on that, you’ll find your customers falling away.
In a literal sense, this is all about answering that call. Make sure you have the means to answer the phone when your customers ring. If you don’t, then you need to be upfront about it, and reduce your opening times, although that is far from being the ideal solution. The best solution would be to use a professional call answering service, so that you can be sure that there is always someone available to answer every call. That will mean that your customer immediately feels much more wanted, which is one of the main concerns they are going to have in dealing with you at any time.
Remember, too, that this is not just about the literal calls. It applies everywhere, so you also need to respond to emails in good time, make a point of offering up many channels of communication, and staff any that might be necessary whenever it is necessary to do so.
Charge Too Much
The question of pricing is always a tricky one, and usually it’s a case of finding a balance, but that balance can be hard to come by. Part of the problem here is that, usually, the only way to be certain on what the balance is is to go through a trial and error sequence – and in the process, you might well find yourself with some annoyed customers. Worse still, you might find yourself having no customers at all. So what can you do about this, and how can you minimize the damage to your business, and the loss of customers?
Put simply, you need to spend a lot of time on the research and pricing analysis stage before you try to charge your customers anything specific. By carrying out decent, complete analyses of other, similar products offered by your rivals and others, you can hope to gain a more complete image of what it is that people are expecting to pay for what. With that image under your belt, you can then make much more sensible decisions with regard to pricing on the whole. You might still need to play around with it a little, but hopefully you will be much closer to the mark the first time.
Yes, you need to turn a profit. But that depends as much on not alienating your customers in the first place as it does on ensuring that you are charging enough to keep afloat. Both are important – and again we can see why it might be so necessary to find that balancing act.
Fail To Be Professional
Not all customers will tell you that they are looking for professionalism, even when you ask them what they most want from you. That’s because this is one of those qualities that people want in a business they are dealing with without even knowing about it. It’s not an overt thing, but a more subtle effect, and one which can be so powerful that it completely derails those businesses which get it terribly wrong. If you fail to be professional, it indicates unconsciously to your customers that you don’t really care – even if you do – and that means that they find it harder to trust you and your company in a way which you would want.
It’s in the way that you appear, how your staff speak and act towards the customer, and even how they act when the customer isn’t there. It’s in the manner that you deal with complaints, and how you process claims of all sorts. You need to make sure that you are fully aware of how you appear, and if you are lacking in professionalism at all, then you need to do whatever you can to rectify that. If you don’t, you will surely be punished very soon by those who do actually need impressing – the customers. Professionalism, as it turns out, is not a dirty word – but the secret code to much greater success in the long run.
There are many more ways to lose customers, but if you can rectify just these issues, then you will find that it makes an enormous difference to what is happening in your own company.