Make Customers Feel Valued And Special
“We would say to our associates, ‘If your brother or sister came into your store, how would you treat them?’
And then we would say, ‘Your brother and sister have to shop here. Other people don’t. You have to treat other customers, strangers, better than you do your brother or your sister.”
— Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, in his (and Arthur Blank) book, Built from Scratch
Business owners are often surprised their employees fail to understand the significance of maintaining quality customer relations.Since the cost of keeping customers is only about 20% of the cost of acquiring them, keeping customers is the key to business growth and profitability. Employees need continual reinforcement of the behaviors to keep customers.
The most important factor in keeping your best customers is consistency. Your customer must know what to expect every time from your business. Some companies appoint a specific salesperson or “customer relations representative.” By keeping the same “face” of the business, your customer knows the history of the relationship is valued by your company.
Next, your employees should be nice. Cordiality goes a long way. For example, my 8 year-old son was enrolled in a pre-season baseball “doctor” camp. When we arrived at the indoor field, the “receptionist” was rude to me and said the camp was full and my son would have to wait for another month. I tried to get her to be nice, but her callousness got my son extremely upset. When we went to dinner at Friendly’s, he wrote on the menu “I hate______”
Another key factor is communicating your company’s policies to the employees. If they internalize what makes the company successful, they can communicate this positive attitude to your customers. If your employees are positive about “their company” that can flow to the customers.
Many of the largest retail businesses fail this test. For example, in a recent report WalMart was rated extremely low in customer service and satisfaction. Other businesses with equally poor scores include Home Depot and Citicorp.