Over my last two articles, I have discussed what I see as disturbing trends in…
The 5 Golden Rules to Keeping Your Customers Happy
The difference between a Small Business that is a joy to operate and one that is a misery, is the quality and attitude of your customers.
If you do business in an environment of respect and trust, then almost any problem can be solved amicably. If the trust is not there, problems can soon descend in to confrontation, or worse: lawyers.
Follow these 5 Golden Rules and you’ll be on your way to a customer list that is a pleasure to work with:
1. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
In all dealings, start with the assumption that your customer is being honest.
2. Trust their motives
If a customer complains about an aspect of your service, assume it’s because they really care about your service and want to make it work for both of you. Never get defensive. Do everything you can to work with them to make them delighted next time.
3. Don’t ask them to prove that they are telling the truth
I feel genuinely sad and a little humiliated when I’m asked to prove that I’m telling the truth by a business. Only ask for ‘proof’ as an absolute last resort.
4. Don’t ask them to do anything that your staff can do for them
A good example happened just last week. A client asked for a report. This report can be downloaded from their online portal with 3 clicks. But we didn’t tell them to do this. We logged in and downloaded their report then sent it to them by email. It saved them having to even think about it.
5. If they are struggling with something we’ve delivered – it’s our fault – not theirs
If we get an email saying that a client is struggling with an aspect of our online portal, then that is our problem for making it too hard to use. I’ve noticed that the default response for many IT people is often: ‘dumb user’. Nip this attitude in the bud ASAP.
The flip side: how we expect our customers to treat us.
We treat our customers this way because it is the right thing to do. But a big side benefit of treating our customers like this is that the bad ones will take advantage of our trust.
How is that an advantage?
It means that the small number of bad customers who slip through our application process will reveal themselves very quickly. If you give a good customer the benefit of the doubt they’ll appreciate it and pay you back in spades with loyalty and goodwill.
If you give a bad customer the benefit of the doubt, they’ll abuse it again and again to enrich themselves at your expense. When this happens it becomes obvious very quickly.
So don’t be suspicious of your customers’ motives. In my experience 95% of them are as ethical and kind as you are. Treat them with the respect they deserve. The bad customers will abuse your trust and stick out like a sore thumb, so you can politely drop them.
With any luck, they’ll sign up with your competition.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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