Customers are kind of funny. They will rarely tell you how you messed up, they will simply leave. Poof…gone!
No matter what the size of your firm there are ways to get to the bottom of this problem.
Call them. Talk to them. Mail them. Do your maintenance.
Don’t just take the order and run. Remember, it is a lot easier and a lot more profitable to do more business with your existing clients than it is to find new ones. So, do whatever it takes to make sure those existing clients are happy campers.
Here are a few simple practices that you might consider adding to your customer service routine.
1. A week after a client buys a product or service, follow-up. Ask them what worked, what didn’t.
It’s an interesting fact of business but, sometimes, as long as people get the chance to tell you what’s wrong, and you do what it takes to fix it, they may become some of your most loyal customers.
2. Send postcards, letters, article reprints, notes, whatever, as often as you can. By staying in touch you create a bond that will serve you well when you launch new ventures and new product lines.
3. The most powerful yet cheapest research you can get. Talking to your customers about what works and what doesn’t work is the greatest way to find hidden gold mines in your industry. Understanding very specifically why people choose to buy from you over others is the secret to marketing.
Be on the particular lookout for phrases like…that’s how we’ve always done it, or we don’t like it, but we’ve just come to live with it.
4. Schedule routine maintenance appointments or calls with your clients.
Often after your clients have been enjoying your product or service they forget how much value it is bringing them. Find a way to build regular meetings with your clients into your service. Use the time to educate them on just how much you have done for them. (How much weight have they lost, how much money have they saved, how much more efficient are they, how much more business they now have, how much of whatever it is that you do)
They will appreciate the time, and it is a great way to introduce new products and ask for testimonials and referrals.
5. Find out everything you can about your clients.
Don’t stop at name, rank, and serial number. Devise a method for collecting personal information about your clients. Information about a client’s spouse, children, hobbies, schools, community involvement can be a tremendous way to further your relationship and offer clues for networking and referrals.
You don’t have to be intrusive or nosy to make this strategy work, sometimes you just have to be observant. Most people wear their allegiances on their sleeves. Any sales trainer worth a darn will tell you to look for ways to strike a common bond with a prospect as a selling tool, I find that as a customer service tool you are simply looking for ways to get a deeper understanding of the needs of your client as a way to uncover more ways to help them get what they want.
Now go do your customer maintenance… Every 3000 miles or so ought to do it!