There is no doubt that stellar customer service offers a competitive edge in a tight economy. However, does that five-star service actually boost your sales as well? Not usually, unless you nurture the customer relationship to effectively transform a first-time buyer into a loyal patron. We have tips to help you use your customer service to boost your bottom line.
Building a Loyal Customer Base
Returning customers tend to spend about 40 percent more than new customers, and they cost almost nothing to attract in terms of your marketing budget. So which type of customer is a better value to your company?
While you don’t want to disregard the importance of attracting potential customers, once you have a buyer, treat that person like the VIP he is. Provide him with first-class service and follow-up so he is more likely to come back to your company time and time again. Some ideas for building a loyal customer base include:
• Customer loyalty cards that offer discounts after a certain number of purchases
• Special sales and events geared solely to return customers
• A database that gives CSRs a purchase history and personal preferences of previous customers
• Incentives to bring customers back that you haven’t seen in a while
By building a loyal customer base, you have already won more than half the battle in boosting sales. These customers will come back over and over, and they may even refer other potential customers to your business as well.
Give Them what they Want
When customers visit your company, make sure they find the product they want at the right price. Up the value quotient by accompanying that product with stellar service that ensures the customer enjoys the experience with your business. In addition to bringing that customer back for return sales, you might even boost her current purchase, simply because she is delighted with the way she is treated by your staff.
Cross-Sell Products and Services
Staff members are more likely to successfully cross-sell products and services when two things happen; first, they actively listen to the customer to accurately assess what his needs might be, and second, they build a relationship with the customer so he is more likely to trust a CSR that suggests a second product to him.
This type of relationship is essential to the cross-sell experience because customers look beyond the fact that your company simply wants to make another sale to their interest in meeting their customers’ needs.
Deal with Issues Promptly
When issues do arise with customers, they must be dealt with promptly and courteously if you want to avoid losing that customer for life. Studies have shown that by the time customers experience three negative interactions with your company, 85 percent will move to the competitor down the street. Preserve your sales and your customer base by adopting a policy of satisfying a customer the first time an issue arises.
There is a good reason why companies that offer the highest level of service also tend to boast the biggest bottom line. Customers that know they will be cared for properly by a business are more likely to put more of their hard-earned cash into that company’s products and services.- Meredith Estep