Customer service and care builds loyalty

the viewIn business, we may love our customers and try to fulfill their every need, but the main reason we are here is to make money. In order to do that effectively, we need to acquire and nurture customers, especially those customers that spend a significant amount of money and spend often. We all have heard that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our customers.

In order to retain our customers and build new relationships, we need to give them experiences they won’t soon forget; and I mean that in a positive way. When customer loyalty is mismanaged, the outcome can be very detrimental to business. In our neighborhood, Nina was wronged by an interior decorator. The decorator promised Nina that the job redecorating the family room would be done way in advance before Nina’s children and grandchildren were due to arrive on the Fourth of July weekend. Not only didn’t the furniture arrive, but the subcontractors hired by the decorator to install the wood flooring never showed up, and to top it off, the decorator could not be reached until July 6th. What did Nina do? She canceled the decorator’s contract, and has told everyone in the area, basically blackballing the decorator. How many customers did that cost the interior decorator?

And it’s not always just about customer service. Businesses have to show they care in many different ways. I like quality and competitive prices, but it’s not always about the price either. In my area there are many seamstresses and tailors; lots of people like me who have barely the skills to sew on a button, so we line up for hems, opened seams and fittings. Unfortunately many of the tailors are rude, make you wait for an unreasonable amount of time, and on more than one occasion have had to return the garments for a botched alteration. In the back room of the local cleaners, however is an older Vietnamese lady who barely speaks English, but knows that I am always in a rush, knows how short I like my skirts hemmed, and indulges me when I have that alteration I need done in a day. She bends the rules, and I appreciate the customer service. That adds up to customer loyalty and more business.

photo credit: Spirit-Fire