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5 Things Businesses Can Do to Look Out for Customers Businesses exist because of customers. Without a client base, your business can’t survive. Regardless of your business type, taking care of customers is key to your success. What can you...

By Howie Jones

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on Calendar

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Businesses exist because of customers. Without a client base, your business can't survive. Regardless of your business type, taking care of customers is key to your success. What can you do to better look out for your customers? Are there ways you can add value to their experience?

It might seem counterintuitive, but having a successful operation is more than just offering fantastic products or services. You must go beyond the transactions and build and maintain the relationship. People will never forget how you treat them and make them feel. To gain and keep accounts, there are things you can do to make lifelong customers.

One way is consistently offering your customers a great experience in working with you. You can also add perks or discounts to thank them for their loyalty. Keep reading for more tips on things businesses can do to look out for customers.

1. Start from Within

If you're looking to provide a better experience for customers, start from within. First, you must have employees on board who value your organization as much as you do. They need to be bought in and know how to treat everyone who frequents your establishment consistently. One employee who ignores a shopper or doesn't care can leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Work on establishing a company culture that focuses on the customer experience you hope to achieve. Train new employees and place emphasis on that. This can look different for each business. For example, maybe your team members greet everyone who walks in the door the same way. You could even have a special phone greeting.

If you want your employees to look out for your clientele, you have to look out for your employees too. Customers can tell if employees are happy or miserable in their job. So take care of finding people who are engaged and good workers. And make sure you provide benefits that allow them to have a good life balance with work too. This can help with retention as well.

2. Be Prompt

When you exist to serve customers, promptness matters. It can help them feel valued and, more importantly, not ignored. Think about it, have you ever gone to a store and stood at customer service, and no one came up? The longer you stand there, the more irritated you might feel. It can leave a wrong impression for future shopping too.

Be prompt in greeting potential customers and ensure your team members understand the importance of this too. It doesn't matter if you have a traditional shop or business where you don't see customers in person. Being prompt shows, they matter, and that you're not too busy for them. When patrons feel seen, they are likely to become returning buyers.

How do you achieve this if you mostly communicate via email and phone calls? Set a standard of answering the phone with a certain amount of rings. Or if they leave a voicemail, always return the call on the same business day. Set a standard for email etiquette as well. For example, your team might always respond within one or two business days.

3. Seek Feedback and Act

It's essential to keep a pulse on how your customers feel about your business. So add a survey program and seek feedback. One way to encourage people to take a survey is by offering a discount for filling one out. Another incentive is placing survey takers into random drawings for complimentary products or gift cards.

What do you do once you start obtaining results? Don't just survey people for the sake of having a survey. Compile the data and learn from it. Take positive notes and consider those things you should continue and do more of. If you have any negative feedback or experiences, learn from those as well. If it is something you could have done better, reach out to the customer if possible.

Make sure to keep an eye on the online review boards as well. Respond to customers who post reviews. If you have received some negative blasts online, try to mitigate that. Like it or not, people look to these boards for products or companies. So keep a pulse on what folks say about you and work to maintain your reputation.

4. Share Your Subject Matter Expertise

Patrons come to you because of the goods or services you can provide. They trust you as the subject matter expert in the field they are coming to you for. For example, when you reach out to an accountant, you expect they understand income taxes better than you. Likewise, if someone comes into your paint store, they hope you understand what type of paint will work best for them.

Train your employees to know your products and how they can benefit buyers. It can create repeat customers for you. And it can also increase your sales. For example, if you have a store like Best Buy, you can recommend things to go with that new laptop.

When customers ask for advice or product questions, and you can accurately tell them, it builds trust. This is especially true if they can tell you're not just trying to make a sale. Recommend the best product for their situation, even if it costs less than what they initially looked at. This shows the customer you genuinely have their best interest at heart. And if you don't know an answer, don't make it up; tell them you don't know and will find out for them.

5. Go Beyond Customer Service to Customer Care

Looking out for your customer is part of the larger customer service topic. And providing excellent customer service shows people they are seen and valued. Giving people your time, especially in the age of self-checkouts and automation, goes a long way. But to truly show customers they are important, show them you care.

Going above and beyond to ensure they have a good experience is part of caring for them. Providing the products are safe and make sense for them shows you care more than just making a sale. If you have a snow removal company, salting the steps for an elderly client shows you go above and beyond. Knowing a customer has pets and ensuring the pesticides you apply are nontoxic shows you know them.

As noted above, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. Treating people well helps them look out for customers. Think of what you're doing as caring for your clients; you'll find yourself changing your work. Focus on people and provide a great business, and you will likely do well in the marketplace.

A successful business is more than just offering fantastic products or services. Going beyond the transactions and focusing on the relationship side shows you care. Consistently offer your patrons a great experience. Be subject matter experts, hire great employees, listen, and be prompt.

You'll be looking out for your customers if you do the five tips noted in this article. Gone are the days of just having a great product. Treating people well matters. The bonus, in looking out for your customers, you'll see your business thrive.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Kampus Production; Pexels; Thank you!

The post 5 Things Businesses Can Do to Look Out for Customers appeared first on Calendar.

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