It certainly caught my eye! 53% more profit from doing a few simple things seems crazy but the research is in and shows that it can be that simple. What am I talking about; a complicated sales program? Some sneaky ways to upsell or a hidden price increase? Nope – nothing like that and thankfully nothing as unethical either.
You see, YouGov, the independent market research company, revealed that 50% of customers in the UK would move service providers (that’s you) if the service they received wasn’t good. But here’s the good bit: 53% of customers surveyed said that they would spend more if the service they received was excellent. And here’s the kicker: 91% of customers said they would not recommend or return to use the service again if the service was not good on the first encounter.
How’s that for an insight into how customers’ minds work? So what can independent business owners do to help influence the behaviour of their customers? Here’s a quick run down on the simple things that can make the biggest difference:
1: Ensure you have a personalised voicemail. Seems obvious but the number of independent businesses who haven’t personalised the response their customers get is surprising. If you can’t be bothered to welcome me to your business when you can’t be there, why should I be bothered to leave a message? When customers are faced with a generic voicemail greeting, the majority hang up and move on to the next person.
2: If you make promises, keep them. We are all busy but if you are one of those people who promises to call a customer back or email them a quote and then forgets, it reflects badly on you and in that time the customer is likely to move on. Keep a notepad or diary handy and schedule in time every day for call back or returning emails.
3: It is your job to chase customers, not their job to chase you. A service interaction can be instigated by either the customer or the business, however, the development of that relationship between customer and business is an invitation by the customer for you to demonstrate how seriously you want their custom.
4: Make them feel special. Whether it be handwriting a thank you card or sending a bunch of flowers to the customer after the job, or simply sending what is commonly termed a ‘stick letter’, following confirmation of the quotation saying how much you are looking forward to doing the work you’ve been engaged to carry out. It’s an innate desire we all possess to be made to feel special, so get your thinking cap on and come up with some ways to wow your customers!
5: Maintain the long-term customer relationship. The truth is that most customers when they experience good service are very open to the prospect of developing a longer-term relationship with their suppliers. Consider ways you can maintain contact with your customers and remain in their mind: send Birthday, anniversary or Christmas cards; send them a regular newsletter or special offers.
6: Don’t forget the basics! Smile, be friendly and approachable but respectful. Ensure your appearance reflects the quality of the work you carry out: smart, professional, clean and tidy. Whenever you are with a customer you are effectively on show – so make sure the show is a good one.
Customer service isn’t rocket science, however, it does require some thought to ensure that you are delivering what your customers want and how they want it. The bottom line is that we all want to be made to feel special and to be respected. This is a good place to start when considering your own customer service strategy.
Jez Rose is a leading behaviour change consultant and widely considered an expert in customer service. His company, The Behaviour Expert, provides unique services that effectively change human behaviour. He is the author of Have A Crap Day, the critically acclaimed book about achieving excellence in customer service and his global clients include Vodafone, Pfizer, Dell and Kraft. For more information and for free resources visit: The Behaviour Expert