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8 Steps To Pleasing The Customer
by John Tschohl

If you want your business to succeed, you must focus your energies on your most valuable asset—your customers. Sure, you need products or services to make and sell in order to survive, but without customers you will have no one to sell them to. The surprising thing is that it doesn’t take a lot to keep those customers happy. Yes, you must have quality products, convenient hours and locations, and competitive prices, but your competitors probably have those, too. What will set you apart is how you treat your customers.

You must provide service so superior that your customers wouldn’t dream of doing business with anyone else. Providing such service doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, if you can implement these eight strategies, you’ll be well on the way to cultivating—and keeping—a strong customer base.
  1. Recognize your customers. A smile or a simple, “Hello” goes a long way in letting customers know you welcome them and appreciate their business. In most companies, 80 percent of their customers are repeat customers, no matter what products or services they’re selling. There’s no excuse for not recognizing them. Even if you’re working in a call center and don’t have face-to-face contact with your customers, you do have access to a database with information on each customer. Use that information to make the customer feel welcomed and valued. You might say, “Hello, Mr. Johnson. How is that new furnace working for you?”
  2. Call customers by name. There is no sweeter sound than that of your own name. It’s the one thing we each own as individuals; it’s precious to us. It’s also a sign of respect, particularly when you use the customer’s last name.
  3. Smile. A warm smile is magic. It’s welcoming and contagious. If you want to set the stage for a good transaction, smile. Even when doing business by phone, the customer at the other end of the line can hear the smile in your voice and will react positively to it.
  4. Be quick. Speed is important. Customers want what they want now. They don’t want to be put on hold when calling. They don’t want to stand in long lines. They don’t want to wait at the counter while you chat with a coworker. Once they’ve made the decision to walk through your doors and do business with you, they want you to react quickly and efficiently in meeting their needs.
  5. Know what you’re selling. Whether it’s a product or a service, it’s imperative that you are knowledgeable about it and can convey that knowledge to your customers and help them make informed buying decisions. You must take it upon yourself to learn as much as possible about the company’s products and services, even if that means after-hours reading on your industry and the people and products involved in it.
  6. Care. Customers want to know that you care about them—and not just their money. Communicate that you care about each customer by making eye contact, listening to what they are saying, and responding with concern to their complaints, and with answers to their questions.
  7. Perform. Do what you say you will do. If you tell a customer you will deliver a product by Tuesday, then do it. If you say you will call the customer by 4 p.m., do it. It’s critical that you keep your promises.
  8. Use empowerment. When a customer approaches you with a problem, deal with it quickly and efficiently. Decide how best to satisfy that customer and then do it. If you do, customers will gravitate to you and you will stand out in your company.
Copyright John Tschohl. All Rights Reserved.

John Tschohl is an international service strategist and speaker. Described by Time and Entrepreneur magazines as a customer service guru, he has written several books on customer service, including Ca$hing In: Make More Money, Get a Promotion Love Your Job; e-Service, and Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service. He currently is working on a book about service recovery. John also has developed more than 26 customer service training programs that have been distributed and presented throughout the world.

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