I often find myself wishing my car would simply re-fuel itself as the biggest barrier for me is usually just about making time out of my busy schedule to stop and refuel. However every time I re-fuel at my regular petrol station I always end up having a great service experience and continue on my journey feeling like the transaction was an enjoyable part of my day. This is due to the friendly staff and efficient service I have received throughout the sales transaction.
In fact we were recently after a highly skilled dog groomer to sort out some maintenance issues on our dog that had become difficult to manage. We asked around amongst friends, business associates and family. The majority of responses all raved with great confidence about this one particular dog groomers and insisted they were fantastic.
We were assured they could solve our dog problem and we would be pleased with the service. So we ended up giving the dog groomers a call and booking in. When we arrived at the Dog Groomers everyone was very helpful and supportive. The head groomer actually took the time to sit with us and understand our needs, concerns and the exact outcomes we were looking for.
Upon assessment we were talked through the options and provided with further information about the outcomes we could expect from their service.
When we collected our dog we were thrilled with the results along with the after sales supportive service which included some complimentary gifts and a service solution to address our ongoing needs. As a result we too have now become repeat customer and a raving fan of their services.
Below are 5 top tips for keeping your customers happy and creating on ongoing trail of business:
- Listen and understand needs
Take time to understand your customer's purchasing needs and the outcomes they are seeking. Ascertain if your services are in fact the right solution to best meet and exceed the customer's needs. Honesty is always the best policy and sometimes you need to pre-educate the customer to ensure the expectations they have are realistic of the service you can provide them with.
- Provide options and solutions to meet needs
Let the customer know you understand their needs and provide them with solutions or options to best address their needs. Provide information and additional pre-sales support if needed to instil confidence in the customer prior to purchase. If time frames are involved in delivering your product or service be honest and ensure the customer is aware of any extra information they need to know before they undertake the sale with you.
- Deliver value to meet needs and achieve desired outcomes
As a base line, deliver exactly what you have promised the customer ensuring quality throughout the entire process is not compromised. For the customer to feel value in their purchase their need must be met and they should be left feeling satisfied with their purchase. In addition, if the whole transaction from start to finish has been friendly, supportive and efficient they should feel the value in the service or product provided and leave having had a great service experience.
- Aim to exceed expectations
There are many ways you can exceed expectations and ‘wow' your customers. Everything from adding something extra to the transaction that provides further value or simply delights your customer. Eg. a voucher to return again, a referral card, a small gift incentive, or something that leaves them with a warm and positive feeling about the whole transaction process. This could even just be a smile and thanking them for shopping with you with an invitation to return.
- Gain feedback throughout the process and at the end
Keep the lines of communication open throughout the entire transaction process from start to finish by regularly seeking feedback and satisfaction responses from the customer as this will help ensure a good result is achieved at the end of the sale process. More importantly it will provide you with the opportunity to make adjustments throughout the transaction process if needed to ensure the right outcome is achieved leaving you with a happy and satisfied customer.
Customers usually come to your business because they have a specific need to be met. A winning strategy is to provide solutions that not only meet needs but exceeds them. When and where possible, aim to ‘wow' every customer so they feel they have really received ‘value' in their purchase.
Compliment that by making the whole pre purchase, purchase and after sales a great experience which in turn should create raving fans and that's likely to result in a good flow of referrals to your business. Great customer service and quality is always a good reason to return or advocate to others.
© Important & Imperative Business solutions, 2011. Wendy Fogarty is Management Consultant who specialises in working with small business owners on implementing range of solution based services that improve overall efficiency and business outcomes. To find out more visit www.i-ibs.com.au or call Wendy on 02 4283 2221 to discuss your business requirements.