Every successful business relies on a core group of customers who keep coming back on a regular basis. Sure, you're always trying to find new customers and expand your market. But chances are that it's the "regulars" who provide the bulk of your revenues. It's important not to forget this group.
Three fundamental principles hold true whether your business is retail, manufacturing, or services. Customers want to be recognized, they want to receive good service, and they want their loyalty to be appreciated. Most companies strive to provide good service. Unfortunately, it's easy to overlook the other two principles.
One other factor is important – you'll need to train your employees in these areas. Although some employees are naturals when dealing with customers, others will need guidance and reminders. So you should make customer treatment a major focus for all employees who interact with customers.
Here are some tips for providing customer recognition and appreciation. You can customize these to fit the circumstances of your particular business.
- Encourage your employees to greet customers by name whenever possible.
- Set standards for how incoming telephone calls are handled. Train the staff at your reception desk to be warm and friendly with visitors.
- Encourage retail sales staff to read the names on customers' credit cards and use them during the transaction.
- If appropriate, maintain a database on regular customers and their preferences.
- Attempt to make all customers feel that they're known and liked by your employees.
- Make sure you specifically thank customers for their business at the time of the order or sale. This applies whether it's a retail sale or a salesperson taking a telephone order.
- Track your regular customers, and send them a note or make a call just to thank them for their business. This is also a great opportunity to ask for feedback on service or other issues.
- Consider throwing a customer appreciation event for your regular customers. This could be an informal social event or a special sale, depending on your business.
Brainstorm with your salespeople on how to apply these ideas to your company. Remember that a customer who feels recognized and appreciated will keep coming back.