By Catherine Franz
1. Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis. Just as it is bad news to send out too many emails to customers, it is just as bad to not stay in contact with them. Customers don't want to feel abandoned. So don't.
Here are three things to help you stay in touch.
2. Create a customer focus group by inviting 10 to 20 loyal customers to meet regularly. Alternatively, send out a monthly survey to this group asking for ideas and input on how to improve your customer service. Give them a reward. Pay them, give them a gift certificate, or send them free product.
3. Have a web site that is easy to navigate. Add a frequently asked question's "FAQ" page and explain anything that might confuse your customers or visitors. Follow-up with an electronic survey with questions on how to increase your site's user-friendliness.
4. Resolve customer complaints quickly and completely. Answer all e-mail and phone calls within a few hours. This will show your customers you really care about them.
5. Don't make your customers or visitors hunt for your contact information. Make it easy for them to contact you. Offer as many contact methods as possible. Hyperlink all your e-mail addresses so they don't have to find or type it. Offer a toll free number.
6. If you have strategic alliances or employees, make sure they are familiar with your customer service policy. Give your employees bonuses or incentives to practice excellent customer service. Tell employees to be flexible with each individual customer, each one has different concerns, needs and wants.
7. Give your customers more than they expect. Send thank you gifts to long time customers. E-mail them greeting cards on holidays or birthdays if you have their address or online cards if you only have their e-mail address and name. Give bonuses to your customers who make a big purchase or multiple purchases.
8. U-welcome, please, and thank you and can never be over used. Be polite no matter what. Admit and apologize for mistakes quickly and make it up to them in BIG ways if you want them to continue being a customer.
9. Reward in points -- give customers a point for every dollar they spend. Set up a points-earned sheet. E-mail the customer an update monthly. If they send you a referral they get 10 points, if they buy something add 10 more points.
10. If your business is local, invite customers to your office for lunches, parties, barbecues, dances, seminars or other special events.
It isn't what you perceive as valuable but what customers see from their eyes. Yet, sometimes, you just can't please some folks. If that occurs, do you best and then let it go. You don't want them for clients anyway.
Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing & Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internet writing and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters and articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com | blog: http://abundance.blogs.com
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