Reuniting with “The Ghost of Customers Past”

Returning customers are always a plus. You know their history and they appreciate the way you conduct business. And although all customers should create revenue for your company, returning customers fair better with spending more money more frequently.  After all, they trust you and your service and they know that you provide great results.
Returning customers deserve special attention so that no matter how or when their needs change, they continue to seek you out and rely on your company to provide solutions.  Here are some quick tips on gaining from the relationship between your company and a returning customer:
1) Make sure to play catch up. Learn how their needs have changed since you last worked with each other. Talk about their successes and failures, trials with other vendors and progress as a company.
2) Be appreciative and be careful not to gloat. Perhaps you knew all along you were the best provider for your customer’s needs, but maybe they wanted to check out the green grass on the other side. Understand their reasoning and thank them for returning to you.
3) Talk long-term strategies with them. Conjure up a feasible plan that creates a long-standing relationship with the customer.  If they’re comfortable with a contract, have them sign one that secures priority space, rates or service.  Now that the customer has returned, your goal is to keep them with you.

4) Make the customer a brand ambassador. The notion behind this strategy is to turn your customer into a lead   generator. They will provide the best word-of-mouth advertising and share their positive personal experiences with anyone who can benefit from the service you provide. Discuss referral fees or kickbacks for their loyalty to your business.
5) Reward their return. Any customer– new or returning– deserves to be rewarded. Show them you value their commitment to your business with something like a free upgrade to a better service/product, a coupon for a discount, a promotional item– or even get social media savvy and tag them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or on your blog.

These are just a few tips on how to build from a relationship with a returning client. For more tips, please contact me.
Do you have strategies of your own? Share them! I’d like to hear what works for you.

How to treat the customer who is never satisfied.

As a business owner, you’re pretty  familiar with the idea that “the customer is always right”. I’m sure you’ve tried to apply this rule to even the most disgruntled customer, who is headstrong on proving that your business has the worst product or service they’ve ever experienced.  Perhaps you’ve been apologetic and even sympathetic that they are unhappy, but no matter what, the customer just isn’t satisfied. Although you may want to ignore or  dismiss this type of customer,  there are ways to benefit from their input.
Here are a few tips for dealing with a customer who just can’t be satisfied:

1) Politely ask why they initially decided to use your service. This approach allows you to identify whether their pain is simply a mismatch in supply & demand. If you never had the capability to meet their needs, no matter what you do to rectify the situatuon, your business may never be the right solution.

2) Ask how you can accommodate them. Sometimes, the customer has their own solution for the problem. Ask them what they think would be a good fix for the problem. And as long as it doesn’t compromise your integrity or hurt your pockets too much, simply oblige.

3) Ask if you could use their troublesome situation to help other customers who may be experiencing the same problems, but make sure you focus on your high-level of customer focus too! You can use their woes to develop a comprehensive FAQ, support forum, newsletter topic, etc. Additionally, you can spotlight the customer.  Tag them on social media networks for added coverage of their situation.  Who doesn’t like their name in the spotlight?

4) After you’ve helped the customer, reach out to them with a phone call (yes, actually call them). Even if they’ve decided not to use your product/ service after their bad experience, your level of customer service may convince them to eventually return or at least spread the word about your dynamic customer support. And of course, word -of-mouth is the best form of advertising.

For more tips on satisfying a disgruntled customer, contact me!
Do you have your own tips? Share them! I’d like to hear your feedback.

Responding to positive feedback

This morning I woke up to an email from a client who was on vacation. The email was two sentences long, but it spoke volumes:

“Thank you, Shannon for handling this project for my company. Job well done.”

This jolted me more than any cup of coffee could. Not only did my client approve the work I had done, he took the time to graciously respond at 6:15 am ON HIS VACATION!

So with this exciting piece of information, I immediately questioned, how should someone respond to a customer’s positive feedback?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Use social media to share the news with others.
2. Ask if you can use their feedback as a testimony on your website or in sales collateral.
3. Respond in an alternative manner such as sending a video response.
4. Write an article about what you did for the client and post it as a piece on your blog or send it to the client. Include their logo and company bio.
5. Ask if you can share the positive experience with people your client refers to you.

Either way, responding to a client’s positive feedback is a great way to show you’re appreciative of the relationship you have with them and it opens the door for more opportunities.

For more tips on this topic or to learn how you can expand on the tips I’ve offered in this blog, please contact me.