12 Most Essential Ways to Honor Your Customers
It’s no mystery that people appreciate being valued and treated with dignity. You would be hard pressed to find a human being out there who doesn’t want to be treated like they matter. It’s also no mystery that your customers are people too, but often forgotten is the incredible opportunity businesses have to strengthen the rapport with your customers on a daily basis. How? By doing what I call “honoring your customers”.
By honoring your customers I don’t mean that you should immortalize them in the form of bronze statues and place them in the lobby of your office. It’s about understanding that no matter where your customers engage with your business, it is an opportunity to shine and make them feel valued. Not only by offering a great product or service, but an great customer experience.
How you honor your customers may vary depending on your business, but here is my list of the most essential ways that any business can make your customers feel valued and appreciated during their entire experience with your business.
1. Hire employees that are passionate about helping your customers
I remember recently going to a big chain electronic store to purchase a new laptop. The process was taking a while as I found the model I was looking for which they had on special. I apologized for having the sales associate run around the store so much for me. His answer, “No problem. Whatever gets me closer to the end of my shift.” Are you or your employees just looking forward to the end of your shift or are you excited about helping and engaging your customers? Passionate employees give off an infectious energy that attracts customers and makes them feel appreciated.
2. When you make a mistake provide a sincere, prompt apology
We all make mistakes don’t we? We are humans after all, but two the worst things that you can do when a mistake is made is to spout off excuses that caused the mistake or deny any wrong doing for days, week or months only to then apologize in the end. Your customers are rarely interested in anything other than finding a solution to their problem and finding it fast. They are often very forgiving when provided a prompt, sincere apology. Drawing out the inevitable compromises the trust that you have worked hard to build with your customers.
3. Don’t pass the buck
There are few things worse than being told “That’s not my department” or “I don’t have the access to help you with that.” An easy way to relieve this is to make sure that you never leave a customer hanging. If you are not the one with the answer then make sure your customer gets placed into the hands of someone who has it. Your customers will appreciate the time and effort you saved them.
4. Leave your emotional baggage at home
We all have bad days, but if you just can’t seem to shake that gray cloud over your head then please call in sick. Your moaning, slouching, and frowning is contagious.
5. Listen first, then speak
Whether it’s your marketing, customer service or a consultation… take advantage of the opportunity to listen to your customers first. This is a skill that many folks know of, but find hard to grasp. There are many benefits to listening to your customers, one of the biggest being that it makes them feel valued. This goes for online and offline communications.
6. Let your customers rate and review your products or services
If you have a great product then you have nothing to fear. If you don’t then you will soon find out.
7. Create or share great content
Books, webinars, whitepapers, blog posts, videos, tutorials, lessons, events… what content can you share or produce that will make your customers do what they love better, faster, stronger, smarter?
8. Make it easy to return or exchange items
Costco is famous for their laid back return policy. They make it extremely easy for folks to feel comfortable purchasing expensive items from them. You might not be able to be as lenient as Costco, but reducing the risk of being stuck with a bad purchase instills confidence and peace of mind in customers.
9. Make your web site easy to navigate
“If you build it, they will come.” is what many businesses seem to think when they build their web site. They may come, but once they get there they will be scratching their heads as they try to find what they want. Put some effort into making your web site stupid simple to navigate.This means asking those outside of your business if your proposed navigation makes sense. Remember, it’s not you who has to use the site. It’s the hundreds or potentially thousands of customers who are not as familiar with your clever attempt to nest your product pages 4 levels deep in the site.
10. Make transactions painless
How how much time does it take for your customers to choose a product or service and then have it in hand? Improving this could save them enough time and hassle to beat rush hour, catch their favorite show, enjoy a meal with the family or do anything other than try to hand you their money. If you have ever purchased anything from an Apple store you will know just how effortless a purchase can be.
11. Feature your customers in a blog post.
Your customers are incredible aren’t they? Especially those that stick with you through thick and thin or passionately share how much they enjoy your product. Share the spot light with them via a tweet, status update, video or blog post. Tell others how cool they are and show them they are appreciated. They will love it.
12. Smile and say, “Hello.”
You might just make their day doing something this simple!
So are you are ready to implement some of these suggestions into your business? It takes a little time and energy, but the benefits are beyond worth it. In a hyper connected world where customers share their experiences with others, whether good or bad, what do you want them saying about you? Ultimately it’s just good policy to treat others like they matter and are valued.
How do you honor your customers? As a customer yourself, did you have a poor experience that could have been avoided had the business honored you in one of these ways?
Image courtesy of takethemoneyandrun. Used under creative commons, some rights reserved.