As someone who is very passionate about all things customer, there is nothing that gets me fired up more than seeing businesses do or fail to do a few key things to their customers:
1. Fail to Listen to their feedback
This is my biggest frustration. A business that fails to listen to its customers. We all know that people make up businesses and that those same people are balancing about a hundred other things daily. It is always easier and more enjoyable to listen to the positive feedback and pat ourselves on the back for doing a great job and ‘exceeding our customer’s expectations.’ It takes real courage to sit and listen to our customers deliver constructive or not so constructive feedback. Sometimes it really hurts.
Having said that, there is no other thing that a business can do that is more important to the longevity and profitability of the business than to listen to its customers. Failing to do this can create disastrous results that can break the bonds of trust you have worked so hard to build up. This may seem elementary to many, but you would be surprised to see how many companies fail to do this.
Suggestion: Call your customers frequently. Not to sell something, but to thank them for their business and then throw out new product, policy or strategy ideas and see what they say. Thinking about introducing a new service? STOP. Don’t take one more step until you speak with many customers first and get their feedback. It will be the best investment you ever made.
2. Oversell a New Product or Service
“Always under promise and over deliver.” Tom Peters
I know that this has become cliche’, but there is nothing that will ruin customer relationships and brand loyalty more than promising what your business cannot deliver. It is more important to take the time to make sure customers are interested in what you have to offer and to involve them in the development of the product or service than it is to oversell what is possible. If done right, a business will earn serious dividends with customers that can lead to wild success.
3. Assume That They Will Never Leave
Just as crucial is that a business should never let its customers out of its sight. As soon as a business rests on its laurels and assumes that its customers will never leave to a competitor is exactly when it becomes vulnerable tocustomer churn. No one likes to be taken for granted. To make the assumption that any particular customer will stay put, because they are happy today is to underestimate the value of consistent customer engagement and the fact that customers have ever changing priorities, which may not include you.
Simply put, customers want to be fussed over and be made to feel special. They will go where they have this experience. Example: I have been a customer of a certain phone company for many years. Every time I call in for any reason, they make it a habit of mentioning that I have been with them for that many years and thanking me, in a very sincere tone, for choosing them as my provider. Then, they exceed my expectations again by dealing with my like I was the most important customer they had. Will I stay with this company? Absolutely!
Suggestion: Stay engaged with customers via relationship-building teams, customer advisory boards, thought leadership conferences, email engagement campaigns and customer satisfaction and loyalty surveys. Keep them at the center of your business universe and watch your retention grow!