What is the purpose of a business? A lot of people might say the purpose of a business is to make a profit, but this is incorrect. The purpose of a business actually is to create and keep a customer. If a business can create customers and keep them then it can generate revenues and profits. Making a profit is the result of getting a customer to make a purchase. This is why customer service is paramount to how every profitable business is run.
Giving great customer service is one of the most important things you can do as an employee or business owner. In fact, having excellent customer service can be the thing that sets you and your business apart from everyone else’s in the world. Customers that are well taken care of will come back to you in the future to make another purchase. In addition, they will tell their friends and family to buy from you. This is like getting free marketing and advertising.
When you put customers first, they will put you first the next time they need to make a purchase in the industry or market that you serve.
The First Impression
Everyone probably knows that the first impression is likely one of the most important things in any interaction between two people. The first impression is often the most memorable interaction a customer will have with you and will set the tone for the relationship. When meeting a new customer it’s very important to smile and greet them happily. You can say, ” Thank you for coming in today what can I help you with?” Or you can take a more personal approach and ask them where they’re from or how they are doing. It’s good to start with a question like these because it begs for a response. In addition, you can start to build rapport with them. Once you’ve properly set the stage in a positive manner, it’s going to be much easier to make a sale.
Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes
Once you’ve made a good first impression it’s important not to taint the situation by being overbearing, pushy, or by skipping straight to the sale. It helps to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and to try and understand what it is that they need. Ask yourself why is it that they would buy from you as opposed to any of your competitors? Figure out what they need and help solve a problem that they have. This is really the key to doing business with people. People make purchases to solve problems that they have and it is your job as a customer service representative to help them understand that problem and to help them solve it with the products and services that you or your business have to offer them.
With that said, if you don’t believe in the products that you’re selling or the merchandise you have to offer, you probably need to find another job. You don’t want to find yourself lying to people or compromising your own ethics. If you don’t truly believe in the product or service you are representing, it’s going to be difficult to sell them.
After the Sale
Once you’ve made a sale, the transaction is not fully complete. Your dealings with the customer have actually just begun. Be sure to tell the customer that they can contact you for any reason with any questions that they may have. It is your job as a customer service representative or business owner to ensure that the customer is happy with their purchase for the long term. Be sure to follow up with your customer within a few days or a week to see how they are doing. Don’t be bothersome, but a quick note or phone call is all that’s needed to let them know that you’re still there to help.
A great salesman once said that the best follow-up technique is to mail the customer a handwritten postcard complete with a real postage stamp to thank them for their business. This gesture alone can make the difference between having a repeat customer who tells her friends versus someone who never comes back. Of course, if you work at a grocery store, I wouldn’t expect you to send postcards to everyone who shops there. Nonetheless, you can still take the time to personally thank customers for their business.
When I worked retail as a teenager, the store owner would often send his top customers personal holiday cards at the end of the year. This was his way to show the most frequent shoppers how much he appreciated them.
Every Employee is the Face of Your Business
Every employee who works for a company is the face of the business to the customers and people who see them. This includes the maintenance workers, custodians, as well as the executive team and, of course, the people assigned to work customer service specifically. All employees have an important role in helping to attract and retain customers for your business. All employees, therefore, should be trained to provide the best customer service possible. If a customer sees a worker with the uniform on, they don’t necessarily know who that person is or what their actual job is. All the customer knows is that they work for the company. You never know when a customer might need help or who they may ask questions of. And you never know who is watching. All company employees (and their contractors) should be trained to put the customer first.
Basically, when you give amazing customer service it means that you treat people in the most excellent manner than you can think of. You should treat people like they are your best friend or your most highly regarded family member. In other words, you should treat customers better than how you would like others to treat you. If you can remember this, you will likely do very well in business.