Hoping that many of you have waken from your turkey comas, we’d like to keep things light this week but still discuss something important: customer appreciation. If you read our post on the new buying cycle, you might have gleaned that excellent customer relations are necessary to survive in today’s world of increased competition and hypersensitive customers. Simply put, the expectations are different than they were 10 years ago, and if you fall short, customers notice. In today’s business climate, every day is Thanksgiving.
Here are four things to mull over with your leftovers:
1. It’s Not Over When They Buy
Despite the existence of numerous sleazy pseudo-business phrases like “seal the deal”, the most important thing is to understand that even though the customer may have given you money, the transaction is not over.
The rules of efficiency would suggest that your best bet would be to immediately move onto “bagging” another customer. Ignore them. Set up an email system that thanks the customer for their purchase, and add them to a mailing list that will keep them informed about company updates via email, Facebook, or another channel. We can’t stress this enough: you’ve already won this person over; don’t lose them.
2. Get Them to be Thankful
Your customer should be just as thankful about the purchase as you are. If we already assume you have a great product (see #3), getting them to be thankful includes all the other parts of the transaction process. Keep customer service as the number one priority. It’s a proven fact (as if research needed to be done) that people like to be treated well and appreciate promptness when conducting business.
If anything ever goes wrong with a transaction, overcompensate to ensure the customer doesn’t come away thinking mishaps are the norm with your company. Always thank the customer after they’ve made the purchase and add them to your list of MVPs (see #1).
3. Feedback is Crucial
Large companies pay muchos buckos for product research. Guess what? Your customers also bought your product and tested it — if you open the lines of communication, you can get incredibly valuable feedback regarding what made the customer go through with the transaction, what made him think twice, what she likes about the product and what about it could be improved.
The best way to approach this is to do it through the follow up communication (see #1) and, because everyone’s time is valuable, offer some sort of reward for participation (see #2). Usually, this will take the form of a valuable coupon, which has the bonus of bringing the customer back for another purchase. Also, asking actual questions will produce better feedback than giving the customer a general feedback query. Just keep the questionnaire down to a non-intimidating size to encourage participation.
4. Stay in Touch
So you’ve thanked the customer, gotten them to be thankful right back, and received their valuable feedback. After these initial communications, it’s important to not let the customer fall off the face of the earth.
If you’ve been sending someone weekly emails for 6 months with no effect, you could email them with a more direct, personalized message, asking if they are still as satisfied as they were initially and if they’ve kept up with events at your company. Maybe even throw in a special discount to sweeten the deal. Their response will be another kind of feedback — not on your product, but on the quality of your communication. From there, you can rework your communication strategy to increase response.
There you have it, now you know how to be the most thankful company this side of the Rio Grande. Your customers will now be nearly suffocated by your dutiful appreciation, and you have us to thank for that.
Last but not least, we at Little Jack would like to thank all of our customers, all of our readers, and all of you tough-skinned entrepreneurs out there, for keeping us in business, always keeping us fascinated, and for keeping the dream alive. Thank you all!