Harmonious inter-personal relationships are not easy to maintain, and business-client relationships are no exception. Although to some business owners the importance of keeping their clients happy is obvious, others seem to overlook customer service while thinking that offering an excellent product will be sufficient to keep clients coming back. However, this is not the case, and failing to meet the standards of clients in this respect can result in large financial losses. If you own a business and are interested in developing strong and satisfactory ties with your clients, continue reading to learn some useful tips.
There simply is no reason why any business owner should wait until a problem arises to start looking for ways of solving it. Bear in mind that keeping clients happy is not just about solving problems, but also about preventing them. Also, remember that the fact that a client has not made a complaint or negative comment does not mean that they are 100 per cent satisfied. How can you anticipate problems and give your clients a space in which they can voice their concerns? Offering opportunities for client feedback can go a long way. And remember that asking for feedback and not acting on it is not a good strategy.
When things go wrong, avoid being defensive and keep your clients informed at all times. Fluid and honest communication can help alleviate the tension created by common situations, like delayed deliveries or faulty products. And of course, you do not need to wait until something goes wrong to excel in this respect. Being approachable and keeping clients up to date is an essential business strategy.
You may offer a product or service that is very similar to that of a competitor. Once a client has chosen your company over others, how do you ensure that they stay loyal and happy? Go beyond their expectations and surprise them with things like free delivery service or the early completion of a job. Of course, you first need to find out and establish what your client expectations are (see the first tip).
Be accountable and offer solutions
Once a problem emerges, clients are often more interested in seeing how you handle it than in the issue itself. Ignoring a problem and hoping for the best will not give good results, but acknowledging responsibility and being accountable is likely to make a long-lasting and positive impression on clients. Offer solutions instead of excuses. Also, ensure that your clients are happy with the solutions that you suggest instead of simply assuming it. Whenever possible in order to position yourself ahead of your competitors, offer solutions that are above the norm.
According to Forbes, more than 85 per cent of buyers are willing to pay more for a product or service if they know that they can rely on the company providing great customer service. The Right Now Customer Experience Report for 2011 showed that up to 89 per cent of consumers had switched to a competitor following an unsatisfactory customer service experience. And yet, barely 40 per cent of the businesses surveyed by the 2012 Forrester Customer Experience Index were given a rating of “excellent” in terms of how they managed their business-client relationships. These figures present a great opportunity to all business owners. By following the tips mentioned above, your business can stand out among your competitors, you can create a solid and loyal client base, and you can keep your business growing.
Graham is a motivational speaker who knows a thing or two about keeping clients happy and engaged. His work finds him on the road in a variety of environments from hotels in reading to the sunny shores of Brighton!