Business often worry about where the next customer is coming from and they spend a large portion of their attention focussing on marketing, but improving the lifetime value of each customer should be a greater priority. Every interaction your customers have with your brand, product and staff should be a positive experience. Even negatives can become positives if handled correctly.
Valuing a customer is a strange concept to some large businesses, which makes it such an effective selling point. In some industries, good customer service can even be a unique selling point (USP) that separates your business from the norm.
For example, a service provider such as an accountant or a graphic designer can nurture relationships with their customers much more when they work as a freelancer than they would be able to as part of a nationally recognised business. That sort of customer service that justifies increased rates or higher earnings for the service provider than would otherwise be unattainable because of tough competition.
Customer Relationships in Big Business
The fact that relationships form better on a one to one basis does not mean large businesses are void of rapport. Thousands of businesses accept student union cards as discount cards in the UK because they know the value of breeding familiarity with customers from a young age. McDonalds offers free burgers with orders and many students will take advantage of that when they are struggling from student loan to student loan? Capturing your target market and giving them a reason to return is simply good business sense.
Maximising the Value of Customers
Each customer has makes a commitment by handing over their money. Any doubts or fear of the unknown has disappeared and providing a good service and product will ensure the customer has a good experience. People like good experiences, so offering a discount to customers in the form of a loyalty scheme by email or discount card will surely improve the experience further. If the customer has a good experience without the discount, how good do you think the interaction be when it costs less next time?
Upselling with Customer Service
You don’t need to wait until the customer is ready to buy the same product again to improve the sale and the customer experience. If you have ever shopped on Amazon or another large internet retailer, there’s a good chance you will have seen something like “People who bought ‘X’, also bought ‘Y’” or “people who viewed ‘X’ also viewed ‘Y’”.
These are all upsells that work because your business is providing a service. If staff in clothes retailers showed customers similar products when they are pondering the fashion sense of a certain garment, how much do you think sales would improve? Unfortunately, most shop staff think customer service ends when after asking customers “you okay there?” while praying for a dismissive “Yes thank you”.
The Bottom Line
With the internet, borders have disappeared and products or services are available from all corners of the globe. Every customer acquisition has an associated cost from shop representative’s wages through to online pay per click ads; if you want maximum return on investment, your business needs to have exceptional customer service at point of sale and beyond.
Carl O’Brien has been helping businesses improve their customer service for more than eight years by introducing plastic cards for loyalty schemes and training client’s staff to promote them through pleasant and consistent interaction.