As a small business owner, it can be easy to get caught up in all the day to day efforts needed to run a business and lose focus on what’s most important … your customers. Regardless of how great your product and/or service is, if your customer isn’t happy with their experience at your store or on your website, they’ll likely look elsewhere. And in this age of connectivity, they will also let others know their opinion. So how do you provide a great customer experience? Here are four easy ways to start.
1. Offer quick and easy transactions without long wait times
Everyone has experienced long lines in stores or long wait times online due to slow payment processing. In many cases, that leads to dissatisfied customers or even lost sales. In a high-volume business, even a few seconds per customer can make a big difference. Online it’s even worse as over 69 percent of shopping carts are abandoned and 27 percent of abandoned carts are due to a check out process that is too long or complicated.
This is an often-overlooked part of the sales process yet it’s easy to fix. Be sure you have newer, advanced-payment processing equipment that handles all types of transactions and does so quickly. Choose a payment processor that has a history of reliability and offers accessible support services. And make sure your staff is trained on how to deal with questions or issues if they occur.
2. Have a well-trained staff
Your staff is the face of your business. How they greet your customers, answer questions and deal with issues and complaints says everything about your business. They help make a great (or bad) customer experience.
So how do you accomplish this task? Teach your staff this simple lesson: Treat our customers exactly the way you’d like to be treated if you were them. A well-trained, friendly and caring staff will lead to more satisfied customers and provide the basis for mutually beneficial, long-term customer relationships.
3. Reward loyal customers
A loyalty program tells your customers you value their business. These programs can be easy to set up with the right payment processing partner, and more than pay for themselves – research has shown repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new ones. Loyalty programs also give your customers a reason to buy from you, even if your price isn’t the absolute lowest. It’s true. Consider how you approach your favorite frequent flyer program and how you’ve likely paid a little more to get closer to an award).
4. Provide great customer service
No matter how prepared you are to help your customers, questions or issues are bound to arise at some point. Think of these occasions as opportunities to show your customers how important they are to your business.
When a customer has a complaint, listen and ask what you can do to help. When something goes wrong, apologize and make it right by giving your customer the VIP treatment. Offer to cover the cost of the current purchase or a future one. Follow up by sending a card giving your customer reasons to come back, such as a complimentary product or service. Make sure you train your staff how to handle potential customer issues quickly and effectively, even if that means politely handing the customer off to a manager.
Additionally, there are easy things you can do every day to show your customers you care. Greet customers with a smile and get to know them. Make eye contact and ask questions. And remember your regulars’ names– or at least their faces. Everyone feels more welcome when they are recognized.
Finally, make it easy for your customers to contact you outside of your physical location. Display your phone number and email address prominently on your website. Add an FAQ page or a self-help page where customers can search a forum for answers to similar questions or issues.
With today’s competitive climate, both in store and online, it’s getting harder and more expensive to find new, loyal customers. Keeping your current customers happy should be a priority, and the steps listed above are a great way to get started.