Customer service means so many things to so many people. It’s revenue to the sales team. It’s good PR to the marketing team. And it’s everything to the big boss.
But what can you do to increase the number of happy customers at your business?
Today I’m going to explore a few ways in which customer service can help turn your return customers into repeat customers and increase your customer satisfaction rating overall. First, you’ll need to understand the difference between a return and repeat customer.
Return vs. repeat customers
A return customer is someone who has made a purchase at your business before and has now decided to return for, at the very least, one more purchase.
A repeat customer is someone who has come to your business several times before and has already decided to continue returning. Someone who doesn’t need to shop around, because their first instinct is you.
The question is, how can you turn your business into that first instinct destination in your customer’s mind?
Tip #1: ‘Wow’ customers with their first purchase
Think about the restaurants you’ve only dined at once. Why haven’t you returned? What happened to keep you away?
Maybe the service was slow. Maybe the food wasn’t great. Maybe the price was too high. Whatever your reason may have been, you are no longer part of a customer base for that restaurant. You made the decision not to return. But what could have happened to convince you to return at least once more?
The first purchase means everything, and so does the experience during the first purchase. If you make sure your customer’s personal interaction experience is a positive one, they will be much more likely to return, recommend your location and in doing so, create even more customers for you. Give them something to talk about and they will do it.
Tip #2: Efficiency is king, but not at all costs
Everyone is in a rush. Whether it be a family event, time with friends or a shopping trip, efficiency is king in 2015. So how can you make things more efficient?
It’s actually very simple. Don’t worry about the interaction speed at all. This may sound backwards, but in the end will make all the difference in the world.
Instead of trying to reduce the amount of time someone spends at your location or how long they have to wait for service, ensure that they actually enjoy their time with you. Fifteen minutes of enjoyable conversation will do you and your customer much more good than five minutes of boredom and pure efficiency.
Instead of having a set of rules for staff to follow regarding how long to speak to a customer, or how long a sale should take, let them create their own completely unique interactions. Have only one rule about conversations with customers: Employees should have as many engaging conversations as possible!
Tip #3: Win your customer’s loyalty
Sometimes a return customer does not have a specific reason to visit your business for a third or fourth time. Maybe they have similar services closer to home or closer to their work. Maybe they need to be further incentivized to return. This is where loyalty programs and customer appreciation tactics come in.
Loyalty programs are a valid form of incentivization to keep people coming back. Coupon codes to be sent out by email or SMS, free item giveaways, and customer-appreciation-days are a great way to spark loyal customers.
But the best way to win loyalty is to make your business feel like a familiar, comfortable place. If a customer wants to return to your location with no specific purchase in mind, you know you’ve won that customer’s loyalty.
Once someone has become a valuable, repeat customer, you can leverage their loyalty. Make a point of asking repeat customers to review your business on Google, Yelp or other review sites. Engage with them through your social media pages. This can make customers feel appreciated with such a small effort.
If you make your customers feel appreciated, like they’re part of something when they enter your business, you will start to turn return customers into repeat customers. These customers can and will become the lifeblood of the business and can even help shape the culture of your business. Taking the time to do this is as important as marketing to potential new customers, so spend part of your marketing efforts making current customers feel appreciated.