With the economy looking like it's heading into a recession, people are tightening their belts and cutting back on all but the essentials. Make your company a necessity by building customer loyalty. Here are 10 ways to fight for every client without racking up any bills.
Examine Your Process: Before you revamp customer service, look at every point of contact between your business and your customer. What are you saying, doing and anticipating to make their experience the best it can be?
Look at the Competition: Not sure how to improve your process? Check out other businesses to help you figure it out. Rich Gallagher, author of "What to Say to a Porcupine: 20 Humorous Tales that Get to the Heart of Great Customer Service" (Amacom), admires Southwest Airlines for how employees are trained to do more than one thing. He also likes how the Phillies baseball team runs its stadium. When he made an impromptu visit during a business trip, he was impressed by how everyone, from the ticket booth to the gates, all tried to help him score a ticket on Father's Day. "Everyone was so helpful that I was happy even though I had circumnavigated about 10 city blocks," he recalls.Survey Your Customers: Gallagher, who also is founder of Point of Contact Group, a communications and customer service training firm, believes the most effective way to learn how you can improve customer service is to survey 5% to 10% of your customers by telephone. Don't email since people can ignore you. Calling also helps further establish a rapport.
Who's Your Audience? Whether you telephone survey or simply get out of your office to chat with clients, really talk to them. Find out what they need. Learn what they are going through. Offer ways your company can help them. When they can afford to buy, they'll remember your personal attention.