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Imagine walking into a clothing store and the first person you meet, the receptionist, is a young lady who interestingly is in a bad mood. You realise that by how she has treated you. She didn’t reply to your hello nor give you a lot of attention. You locate another employee and kind of feel relieved.
So you walk to the other one to ask for help around the store. She takes you round but you realize she too isn’t in the mood. She is just doing it as a formality.
Think of another store where right from when you come in, the receptionist greets you with a smile, welcomes you and directs you on where to go next. You meet another employee who shows you around and treats you loyalty, whether you decide to shop with them or not.
Where will you shop next time? Now that’s customer relations.
As part of growing your business and consequently increasing your sales margin, you would want to continually grow your customer base and loyalty. You will want to have repeat business whereby your satisfied customers refer others to your brand.
Customer relations refers to the way an organization manages its interaction with current and potential customers. To improve business relationships with customers specifically focusing on customer retention and driving sales growth.
So how do we hack this?
To begin with, customers focus. This involves ensuring that all aspects of your company put its customers’ satisfaction first. There are many activities than can help you achieve this. They include:
- Ease of use– making sure you design services and products that are easy to use and access as well as educating your customers on how to maximize the benefits that come with using your product or service. Let there not be too many procedures for them to finally acquire what they want.
- Personal relationships – Cultivating a good relationship with your customers makes them feel valued and important. This creates an attachment with your service or product. This can be done in small ways like emailing your customers just to confirm an order, or a phone call to ensure your customers received what they ordered. You can also send them messages on special days like their birthdays or on anniversaries marking when they started transacting business with you especially for loyal customers.
- A swift and sure handling of inquiries and complaints – This is putting up effective feedback platform(s). Install working processes where customers can pass any problems or complaints and have them dealt with promptly. Again you have to be honest. If a problem is that which might take some time, to solve let them know. Honesty is key.
- Appropriate payment systems – Enable your customers to pay in ways that are convenient for them and at appropriate times. Have you had an experience where you had to queue for so long so as to pay for the service or product? I have, and the experience isn’t interesting. If your payments are done online, let the payment portal be secure and hassle free. Eliminate the possibility of potential customers shying away from coming to you because the payment procedure is not friendly.
- Honesty – Can we take your word to the bank? For example you state you deliver in 48 hours, Okay. Can your customer rest assured that they will have their merchandise or service delivered by that time? That’s honesty, your word needs to be your law. It is important to inform your customer in time and apologize for that.
If you’ve stated that you offer after sale service, please live to your promise. Some companies even go to an extent of offering discounts to the affected customers in the cases of such incidences. With honesty you build a brand that can be trusted.
- Get your team trained.
This one is very instrumental. It is important to have your team trained on good customer experience. There is nothing that puts off customers like grumpy employees. Train them on,
- Greeting and interacting with customers
- Answering the phone
- Managing their emotions
- Dealing with tough customers
Training on such issues will go along way into growing your business. When your employees are properly trained, they feel confident and motivated to serve. Remember the customer is most of the times right.