Since your customers are your career, you should let them know how
special they are. There are many ways you can accomplish this. Not all
may apply to you, but think creatively on how you can adapt most of
these ideas to ensure customer satisfaction:
- Show your customers you think of them. Once a month or so look at
your client list and think of a way to show your thoughtfulness. Cut
out and send articles and cartoons. Send birthday or holiday cards and
ideas to help them improve business. Start a monthly newsletter or send
samples of new products.
- Make appointments and go in to check up on things. Bring new
brochures, products or other little “extras” with you. While you’re
there, see if they are getting the optimal use of your product. If not,
show them how to get the most out of it.
- Offer a sample gift to enhance the use of your product. For example,
a computer user would appreciate diskettes, printer ribbons, software
and so on.
- Offer them “preferred customer discounts” and encourage them to call
you for all of their needs. Compile a coupon book full of discounts on
things they will need and you’ll make it easy for them to place orders.
After a while you will be the first person they will call when a need
- When they hire new employees, offer to train them free of charge or
at a reduced rate. The better trained their employees are the more
likely they are to use your product and the more sales you will realize.
- Compensate them for down time. If your product or service has an
abnormal downtime that inconveniences your customer, it creates a
tremendous amount of good will to offset their loss somehow.
- Accept returns without balking. They are much less expensive than
finding new customers.
- Respect your customers’ confidentiality. Don’t discuss their
business with other clients, sales people or friends.
- Represent both your client and your company. If necessary, push your
company to follow-through on their commitments. Just as your behavior
reflects on them, they can indirectly hurt your reputation if they are
- Act on referrals immediately. Show your appreciation for your
customer’s referrals by contacting them as soon as possible and
reporting back to your customer on the outcome. If their referral was
successful, the positive feedback you give will encourage more
referrals. You can show your appreciation with a modest, but thoughtful
gift. If the referral was unsuccessful, the customer may get more
involved and try to make it work. For example, she may volunteer to
make a phone call in your behalf.
- Give your customers free publicity. If your company has a
newsletter, get permission from your successful customers to write about
them. After publication, send them a copy.
- Keep track of your customers’ results. Meet with them once a year
for an annual check-up. Discuss their business, the industry, market
trends, emerging opportunities, competition and so on.
- Keep lines of communication absolutely open. Encourage them to call
you at any time with ideas, questions, grievances, jokes, feedback and
whatever else is on their minds. These are not interruptions of your
work; they are the purpose of it.