How to build a database of loyal customers

Did you know that poor customer service is the number one reason customers stop doing business with a company? The top issues of complaint are:

•              rude staff

•              incompetent staff

•              issues not resolved in a timely manner

Despite your best efforts, mistakes are bound to occur when dealing with customers. Many things can go wrong from faulty orders and delays in receiving new stock to losing experienced staff during a crucial sale period.

For building a loyal following, here is a handy checklist highlighting the top five customer service skills you need to provide:

1.      Patience―being treated with patience is important to customers. Often, they will reach out for support when they are confused and frustrated so taking the time to listen to their needs and offering suitable suggestions will be much appreciated. Quality of service matters, whether it is in helping customers choose a product or in resolving a complaint. A customer complaint should always be viewed as an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service, and by taking the time to confirm that their issues have been addressed and dealt with satisfactorily, you show your customers three very important things―you care about getting it right, you are willing to keep going until you get it right, and the customer is the one who determines what ‘right’ is. Customers need their issues dealt with first time rather than be rushed out the door.

2.       Attentiveness―really listen to your customers. This is crucial for providing great service. When trying to identify areas that need improvement look to feedback received from customers and turn those negatives into positives. 

3.       Product knowledge―Christmas is coming and most businesses hire extra staff. It may be tempting to hire an inexperienced salesperson but be very careful. A whole year of fabulous service and building a great reputation can be destroyed by hiring staff that are not in line with your company’s values and who do not know your products. Don’t risk your hard-earned reputation―take time to carefully choose staff that will add value to your business and make staff training a priority.

4.       Time management skills―although it is agreed more time should be spent assisting your customers, getting customers what they need efficiently should be a priority. If the customer can’t be helped in a timely manner, make sure help is available from someone who can. Use this as a learning/training opportunity so this situation can be handled without assistance and within company guidelines the next time it arises.

5.       Ability to read customers―wherever possible, look, listen and pay attention for subtle clues about the customer’s current mood, patience level and any personality traits. Being able to read these clues and anticipating your customer’s needs is a skill that takes time but this ability will go far towards keeping your customer interactions a positive experience.

Does your staff provide these top five customer service skills?

Tui Cordeman is the owner of Koh Living