Regardless of what business you are in - you are really in the business of satisfying customers. The degree of customer satisfaction you deliver determines the level of long-term success you will achieve in business.
Make Customer Satisfaction Your Top Priority
Don't just make sales. Create customers - satisfied customers. In addition to the immediate profit they provide on the first sale, satisfied customers help you build your business in 2 other important ways:
1. They become a reservoir of repeat buyers. For some businesses that means repeat buyers for more of the same product or service. For every business, it means buyers for additional products and services.
2. They automatically refer more business to you from their friends and business contacts. This is highly profitable business for you because it doesn't cost you any time or money to get it.
Never Promise More Than You Deliver
Never make any promises you can't (or won't) keep. Nothing alienates customers faster than getting something less than they expect from a business transaction. They won't do business with you again. And they will tell everybody they know about their unhappy experience - causing you to lose future customers.
Tip: Handle customer complaints quickly and with a positive attitude. Strive to preserve your relationship with the complaining customer instead of your immediate profit from them. They will reward you later with more sales and referrals.
Always Give Customers More Than They Expect
"Over deliver" on quality and service. Always exceed your customers' expectations. You will win their long term loyalty. It also makes it difficult for competitors to steal customers from you - even if they have lower prices. Customers will not risk an uncertain experience with a competitor when they know they will get more than they
expect from you.
Tip: Surprise your customers with unexpected value. If you sell products, include an "unadvertised bonus" with every order. If you sell services, get into the habit of doing something extra for every customer or client without charging for it.
Let Customers Know How Much You Value Them
Let your customers know you are always thinking about them. Communicate with them regularly. For example, create some special deals just for your existing customers. And announce new products or services to them before you announce them to the general market.
Tip: Convert your customers into publicity agents. Develop an incentive for them to tell associates and friends about the value of your products or services. An endorsement from them is more effective than any amount of advertising - and it is much cheaper.
For example, reward them each time they refer someone who becomes a customer. Your reward can be as simple as a credit toward their next order from you.
You are in the business of satisfying customers regardless of what products or services you provide. The satisfied customers you create will help you build your business by becoming repeat buyers and by referring new business to you from their friends and associates.
Copyright 2004 Bob Leduc