Satisfied customers will go away happy ... and will come back

"You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in new customers, but unless you get these customers to come back your business won't be profitable for long," writes online business columnist Susan Ward.

"You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in new customers, but unless you get these customers to come back your business won't be profitable for long," writes online business columnist Susan Ward.

She says good customer service is all about bringing customers back and sending them away happy.

They must be happy enough to pass positive feedback about your business to others. One trick to keep your customers coming back is good customer service. Your service must go beyond the customer's expectations and outshine that of your competitors.

Acumen Research Group surveyed more than 1000 Canadian consumers and found that 43percent had abandoned a provider because of bad experiences with the staff and 30percent because they felt staff did not treat them as valued customers.

Train your staff and everyone who comes into contact with customers in good customer service.

You and your staff must treat customers so well that they come back and even recommend your business to others.

A few simple techniques will help you achieve this.

Study your competitors and compare your service with theirs. Once you know what they do, improve your service to make it better than theirs.

List ideas that will help you improve your customer service. If you and your competitors sell a product that must be delivered to the customer and no one else provides this service, you might even provide a free delivery service if your finances allow it.

Once you have thought of ways to improve your service, think how you can implement them, but only if they are feasible and sustainable. Once you start providing a service you have to stick with it.

Honour your promises. If you promise a customer delivery on Monday, deliver on Monday.

Choose ideas that you are comfortable with and are sure of, then implement them. Notify customers of that special service.

Susan Ward suggests you do not tell customers that your special service is new because that might leave an impression that something was wrong with your old customer service. Show that what you are introducing is for your customers' benefit.

Keep updating what you offer and gather new ideas.

You can do this by talking to customers and hearing what special treatment they would like. Ask them to fill in short questionnaires about your service. Remember, people feel honoured to be asked for their opinions.

Good customer service responds to customer needs.

Show empathy. If a customer complains about the your product or service, listen attentively.

First calm down angry customers then hear the problems. Once the problem has been solved thank the customer for coming forward with the complaint. Attending to a customer's problem with empathy will help retain him as a customer.

Friends who hear how you solved the problem won't hesitate to raise their concerns, which will allow you to keep many happy customers rather than a few angry silent ones.

Take care of your customers or someone else will.

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