The way people talk about you and your brand goes a long way to determine how successful you will be as an entrepreneur. This is why you must strive to leave a lasting impression in the mind of your customers. You should not just stop at customer care, you must go all the way to care about your customers.
My friend, Dilim Okeke, once shared with me an experience she had with Amazon. She had ordered some books but could not get them because of some reason or the other. So she complained to Amazon’s customer service and was told to wait a few days longer to confirm that the books were indeed lost in transit.
When the given period had elapsed Amazon canceled her existing order, created a new order for her and sent the books using their usually expensive express delivery service. So my friend got her books 3 days later.
But what got her hooked was that Amazon had refunded the shipping fee she paid earlier and had taken only the money for the books. Now, she orders all her books through Amazon even if those books are cheaper with other stores. That experience left a permanent impression in her mind.
This is how large corporations grow – they understand that there’s a clear difference between customer care and caring for your customers.
Now, think about this story for a moment, and here’s the real kicker. She had that experience so she told me. If I had any reservations about Amazon as a company, those reservations disappeared the moment I heard that story. So Amazon got one more customer. Now, I’m sharing the story with you so you are probably thinking about shopping on Amazon, aren’t you?
The point is, with a single stroke Amazon could get tens, even hundreds, of new customers. This is why your aim should always be to give your customers an unforgettable experience. When you do, they will always come back to you and they will refer their network to your business.
Here are 5 ways you can give your customers a treat without spending much money.
Find out what your customers want – always remember their preferences.
You need to treat your customers like a child; pamper them, let them know you really care about them. When I lived in Enugu State, Nigeria, I always patronized one restaurant close to my house. The owner had lots of customers but somehow she would always remember what I wanted.
If she had another food she felt I would enjoy she would inform me and encourage me to try it. In fact, she treated me like my mother. And so I always ate at her place. More than that, I took my friends there.
You should let your customers know you really want to satisfy them and you are not only after their money. Don’t be selfish in serving your customers. Find out what they want, how they want it, when they want it and where they want it. Go the extra mile to make your customers happy.
In the business world, your employees and your customers are the best assets you have. Handle them with care. In fact, pamper them.
Have a relationship with your customers
Make your customers part of your own family. This is one difference between customer care and caring for your customers. Customer care sounds more like sitting at a desk and answering calls in a weird voice. Caring for your customers is much more than that.
My friend, Akas, once took me to see one of his customers. The man had built a new house and invited Akas to the house-warming ceremony. Akas could not make it on the given date so the next Sunday he took me to see the man and celebrate with him. He even gave the man some gifts.
You should see the glow in this man’s eyes when we got there. He was so happy. He gave us the best food, drinks, and he never stopped thanking us profusely as we left. Tell me, if you were the man, would you forget Akas in a hurry?
Ask about your customers’ well- being.
Ask them if they enjoyed the previous product they bought.
Ask them if there is anything they would like your company to help with.
Send them well wishes on their birthday and on special holidays. My banks never forget to send me birthday wishes, even the ones I no longer bank with. They want me to feel like their family.
Treat your customers like your family and they will never forget you.
Be professional and courteous
Every Nigerian is familiar with the phrase, ‘African Time.’ It broadly implies being more than 45 minutes late to any meeting because you are waiting for the other person to get there first.
A few weeks ago, I needed to sew some clothes for myself. My girlfriend had told me about this guy whom she believed was very good. If tailors mess up your clothes, you will appreciate having a good tailor. I agreed to meet the guy and he gave me an appointment for 12 noon the following day.
He offered to come see me in Onitsha from Awka (over 40km and close to 1 hour drive). Most tailors will ask you to come see them. This guy came from Awka to Onitsha without taking any extra fees for his transportation. But the kicker for me was his professionalism. He was there 12 noon on the clock. I was stunned. I paid him what he asked and we had a good time.
He was professional and he was courteous. So for the foreseeable future, I’m not thinking of finding another tailor. You see how this works?
Nobody wants to deal with a rude company. If you are rude or unprofessional, your customers might put up with you because they need you. But at the sight of your competition, you are on your own.
As a business owner, you have to train your employees to treat your customers with respect.
The truth is, if you are rude to customers, keep them waiting, treat them badly or in an unprofessional manner, they will definitely tell it to their friends on social media or anyhow they can. Your reputation will take a hit. Customers never forget a bad service, ever.
Not only should you ask what your customers want, you must genuinely listen to their request and act quickly in helping them. Since they might not be able to express everything on their mind at the sales point you might not be able to understand everything at that time.
What you should do is to create systems of gathering information from customers to help improve in your service. There are various methods to gather information from customers:
- Social media
- Communities and group
- Emails and web forms, etc.
Offer ongoing support and special features
This is a very effective way to tremendously increase your customer base. Many Nigerians will remember how Glo gained so much customers even when MTN had already claimed much of the market. Glo gave out so much special offers and bonuses that people went gaga.
I will always recommend IPage web hosting company to my friends because the first time my blog crashed, their service personnel did not just tell me what to do. The guy asked me to wait a few minutes (not more than 5 minutes). He helped me reinstall my database and asked me if there was anything else he could do for me. I had tried throughout the night to install my database, and I failed. I had given up hope of having my blog back. Imagine my happiness when this guy did it in 5 minutes at no extra cost.
Many people know about Jumia and Konga Black Friday. Jumia always multiply their customers on every black Friday. Customers always look forward to that day. The first day I had my laptop sent to my house from Konga, I never shopped anywhere else. Customer service.
Shoprite is popular because of their special offers. Even though some items cost more at Shoprite, customers still prefer shopping in Shoprite because of their excellent customer service. Compare that with buying something in Oshodi or Main Market.
Caring for your customers is much better than customer care. The business world has become more competitive. The company is no longer the king; the customer is the king. Treat your customers as kings and they will reward you with loyalty, more business and referrals.
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