Consistent and thoughtful customer care is the mark of a company that understands who butters its bread. Customers are the life and soul of any company, and company owners and employees who understand that make a habit of seeing to it that customers are satisfied. This includes doing everything possible to avoid dissatisfied customers and taking steps to resolve problems when they occur.
Listening to what a customer is saying to you is critical if you hope to make that customer happy. If what the customer is saying sounds familiar, don't assume that you've heard it before and tune out. Each customer is an individual, and the mark of a superior clerk or representative is the ability to understand the nuances of what the customer is saying and to act appropriately on that information. If you supply the customer with a product, service or experience that is "good enough," she may or may not return to your business. If you provide her with exactly what she is looking for, in a friendly and confident way, odds increase that she will be back.
Part of your business is to remain current with the latest information in your field. Many customers know what they want, but others will come to your business seeking information and guidance as well as a product. If you are able to provide knowledgeable and useful guidance about new products, alternatives, repairs and other product details, customers will appreciate this and remember your business the next time they need something that you carry.
Despite your best efforts, you will occasionally experience customers who are not satisfied with what you have provided them with. The reaction to this situation is what separates superior businesspeople from the rest. Resolve the problem to the satisfaction of all parties without becoming defensive. Err on the side of the customer. If a customer wants a refund or replacement that you don't think is justified, it's better for your business to simply give it to the customer anyway. You lose the price of that one item but better than alienating that person, and subsequently all the people who the person tells.
The extent of an appropriate follow up depends mainly on what your customer bought. Obviously, the owner of a convenience store isn't going to send Christmas cards to someone who bought newspapers. For large purchases, however, check in with your customer after a few months to be sure she is satisfied with her purchase. A new computer system or television, a new car or an expensive bedroom set are significant enough purchases that the client will appreciate an email or phone call to find out if there is anything more you can do.
Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.