7 Key Tips to Keep Your Customers Happy
The smart young entrepreneur knows that customers are the backbone of their businesses. Happy customers will keep coming back for more and will tell their friends about your product. The happier your customers, the higher your profits, and the more you can grow your company.
Here are 7 of the very best ways to build and maintain exceptional customer service. Doing so will boost your company’s reputation and make you a leader in your field.
1. PERSONALIZE YOUR CUSTOMERS’ EXPERIENCE
Everyone likes to be seen and appreciated. Some ideas for ways you can personalize your customers’ experience through your business:
- Include a hand-written note with your product that thanks your customer by name
- Welcome new customers by name and let them know how glad you are to meet them
- If you notice a repeat customer, give them a free treat with their next order
- Respond to customers on social media, including Yelp!
When you take the time to call out your customers by name, you’re letting them know that they matter to you. They’re more than just their money. They’re an important relationship. This makes them more likely to return to your business.
2. DON’T TAKE CRITICISM PERSONALLY
We’re sorry to say this, but sometimes a customer isn’t going to be happy with your product or service. They may have had a rough day and you got stuck in a case of bad timing. They may be the type of person who’s just very critical. Whatever the reason, your job isn’t to argue with this person. The worst thing you can do, as a young entrepreneur, is make your customer feel stupid, silly, or hysterical.
According to Signpost.com, these are the steps to take when addressing customer complaints:
- Respond quickly. Aim to respond within 24 hours.
- Acknowledge the customer’s complaint. This is a simple restating: “I understand you thought the t-shirt would be powder blue, and instead it’s closer to navy blue.”
- Apologize and empathize. “I’m so sorry I did not meet your expectations. This must be frustrating for you.”
- Take responsibility. “Sounds like a rare mistake on my end.”
- Provide an explanation, if needed. Don’t get defensive, though. “The packages were mislabeled,” will do.
- Take the discussion offline. When responding to a Tweet, Yelp! review, or another public complaint, give the customer your business email address and ask them to reach out to you there so you can make it right.
- Make it right. Offer to pay for the shipping for an exchange or offer a 10% discount on the next order. And then apologize again.
3. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR CLIENTS’ DETAILS
Use the free calendar and notes apps that come with your phone to keep track of important details for each of your customers. Then, use those details for things like a free birthday treat or offers of “exclusive” sneak-peaks at your new products. For babysitters, tutors, and pet-sitters, this is also a great way to keep track of which customers have more kids, more pets, and potentially more business.
Keeping track of your clients’ details makes them feel good. You can ask your tutoring clients how their other kids are doing at school or congratulate them on a recent job promotion. Anything that reminds your clients that you are paying attention.
4. BE PREPARED TO OFFER ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS
Your favorite babysitting clients are going on vacation for a week, and they’d like to know if you can swing by the house to feed their cat and clean his litterbox once a day. You’d love to help, but there’s a problem: you’ll also be on vacation that week!
Instead of saying you’re sorry and leaving it at that, be prepared to offer your favorite family an alternative solution. This is where networking plays an important role for young entrepreneurs. Having a reliable network of young entrepreneur peers will allow you to politely decline the family’s request and offer them an immediate solution. “I’m sorry, I’ll also be away that week. But my friend does pet-sitting, and she’ll be in town during the break. Here’s her contact info. Tell her I sent you!”
5. UNDER-PROMISE AND OVER-DELIVER
We really can’t think of a time when a customer was upset that their delivery arrived early. Or when they got two of a thing instead of one. The young entrepreneur’s takeaway here: customers enjoy getting more than they paid for! (And they do NOT enjoy being disappointed by broken promises.)
How does this work for you?
- Arrive a few minutes early for interactions such as job interviews and when you provide services (but not too early, as that can be almost as bad as showing up late)
- Include surprise bonuses with your packages, such as a free keychain or magnet
- Go above and beyond what was asked of you. For example, babysitters can bring age-appropriate books, games, and allergy-sensitive sweets.
6. ALWAYS HAVE AN ANSWER
You may know your product inside and out, but does your customer? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, they’ll probably have questions. It’s up to you to be able to answer those questions quickly and expertly. And if you don’t know the answer? Say something like, “I will certainly find out for you!” Then follow up on that promise.
7. HAVE MULTIPLE WAYS FOR CUSTOMERS TO CONTACT YOU
Different generations have different comfort zones when it comes to using technology. And individuals have various abilities and means of using technology, as well. In addition to social media, make sure you have a phone number and email address that customers can easily find on your website. The email address should 100% NOT be your school or personal email. Google makes it easy to set up new email accounts. Make sure your business email sounds like your business’s name and is easy for customers to copy. (Don’t have a lot of letter I’s next to the number 1, for example.)
Remember that every new customer is taking a chance on an unknown by giving you their money. Make it worth their while. Make them glad they did business with you. And don’t forget your existing, loyal customers. They deserve acknowledgment and appreciation!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation’s commitment to young entrepreneurs, including our college scholarships for high school students, by clicking here.