Are you spending time and money on bells, whistles, and gimmicks in an effort to delight your customers? If so, stop. Instead, focus on your internal customer workflows. Your customers will appreciate it.
- Make it easier for your customer to do business with you.
Focus all customer-related, post sale activity on making life easier for your customer to do business — more specifically, to do business with YOU. That is, identify where there were bottlenecks, delays, or other issues. Find a way to eliminate these. Talk with the customer. Ask the customer what challenges they experienced on their end — and really listen. Work to eliminate these. Become the provider that makes it easier for the customer to do business. Making a customer's business run smoother will trump bells and whistles anytime.
- Empower your customer facing employees to go above and beyond.
Your customer facing employees are critical to customer retention and satisfaction. Make sure these employees understand the importance of their roles. Keeping existing customers satisfied is the most economical way to grow sales revenue and profits because there are no customer acquisition or startup costs. That's why keeping existing customers satisfied should be the mantra of your frontline employees.
- Invest in training.
Put your time and money into training with the objective of increasing No. 1 and No. 2 above. Smart, effective employees trump all other investments on the customer satisfaction and retention scale. Looking for proof? When was the last time you were upset with a company because they were smart and efficient?
Remember, satisfied customers tell three friends about their experience, and angry customers tell their unhappy tale to dozens. These are the interactions that can make or break an organization. We'd love to hear your stories of excellent or subpar experiences with your vendors. Let us know what happened.