While your products or services may be above par, that's not the only thing that will keep customers coming back for more. Increase customer loyalty and ensure that current customers recommend your business to friends and family members by focusing on improving the quality of your customer service, with a focus on the “customer” part of "customer service."
Acknowledge customers. This may seem like a simple and obvious thing to do. Perhaps the fact that it's so simple is why it’s often times overlooked. A smile and a greeting when customers come in can set the stage for a great shopping experience. Train associates to always welcome customers who come into the store, even if they are busy doing something else at that moment.
Query your customers about how you are doing. You can do this various ways. Have comment cards that customers can anonymously fill out and deposit in a comment box, set up an online service that they can take and offer prizes as incentives for people to complete the surveys. Or you can simply have your associates ask customers, as they go through registers or pay for services, whether they are satisfied with the service they received. Data from such assessments are critical to finding out what your strong and weak points are so you can work on those areas that need improvement.
Get to know your customers personally. Beyond having associates introduce themselves to customers, do so yourself. When customers come into your business next time and are greeted by name by the owner or manager, they will feel important. You don't have to get to know them in-depth but learn a few key details. For example, Mrs. Smith may appreciate you asking how her daughter is doing in college, or Mr. Jones might appreciate you asking how his last fishing trip went.
Use customer complaints or concerns as opportunities to show your customers how much you care about their business. Make sure that associates listen to customers, paraphrasing their understanding of the problem and offering a solution that will leave customers happy. If possible, compensate the customer for his trouble with a little extra, such as a coupon for a percentage off his next purchase or another small token that shows you value him. When it's just not possible to remedy a problem, give customers an honest explanation of why that is.
- customer service image by Kurhan from Fotolia.com