EVERY. TIME. I’m on the phone with one of my vendors, I end my call with, “Thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it,” and then I hang up the phone, and say outloud, “Bitch” She is downright rude, and condescending to me. Why haven’t I changed vendors you ask? Under normal circumstances I would, but since I own a franchise, this is an approved vendor, and I don’t have another option.
So I have to take her unpleasant and arrogant attitude. I am nice to her on the phone because I need what she has, and she holds the key to whether I get my order or not.
How are your treating your customers? In most cases your clients don’t have to business with you, like in my situation. What are your customers saying when they hang up the phone?
Here are the first two of five tips to hold onto your clients like precious gems.
#1 Provide More in Value Than You Take in Payment
This is just good business. You should always provide more in value than you take in payment. It is the #1 Law of Stratospheric Success in the book, The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg & John David Mann. If you are thinking you can’t afford to do this, then you don’t understand value. Added value doesn’t have to cost you anything.
A retail candy store might heat seal all of their bagged candies. It gets the job done, and looks OK, but another candy store might seal them all with pretty ribbon bow so that it looks like a gift. That’s added value.
At Sam’s Club your groceries are just piled into your cart, but your local grocery store bags them for you, and helps you to the car if needed, that’s added value.
One chiropractor treats your back pain, but another chiropractor may produce videos to help you stay pain free. That’s added value. Ahhh, now you’re thinking the second chiropractor is putting himself out of business. Not at all. The second chiropractor understands, that giving away some information is creating fans who will seek him out when they are in pain, because they have found value in the videos and have already formed a relationship with the chiropractor even if they have never been to the office before. This is actually huge added value.
#2 Learn to Love Your Customer Complaints
The truth is, most customers don’t complain, so when they are dissatisfied in any way they just stop buying from you. You aren’t the only one selling that product or service, unless you’re selling yellow cake uranium. (I hope this comment doesn’t warrant a visit from homeland security, I swear I just watch too much Big Bang Theory.) But if it does I have no doubt that my clients will secure my bail, and vouch for me.
Of course you don’t like to get customer complaints, and you sure don’t love them. You should realize though that complaints are unsolicited feedback, and how you handle them will either get you a customer for life or an opening for a new customer. The choice is yours.
A customer complaint gives you an opportunity to WOW your customer. It gives you an opportunity to show them just how much they mean to you. I really do love customer complaints, and I only get three or four a year. Yes, it’s like a knife sticking in my heart when I get the call, and it really ticks me off if it’s a complaint about an employee. But, if you can calmly listen without interrupting, ask them how you can make it better, offer them some sort of compensation (I never offer a refund), and sincerely thank them for making you aware of the situation you can create a raving fan for life.
Does that mean you have to actually continue to do business with those who make your life miserable and complain about everything looking and you know they are looking for something for free from you all the time? No it doesn't. In some cases it may be necessary to “fire” a customer and I have on 3 different occasions in the past 16 years, and I have been “fired” by a 4 or 5 customers that I know of. When I factor in I have served over 300,000 customers in the last 16 years that is 0.00000333333% of customers who either aren't digging me or I'm not digging them. I'm happy with that statistic.
Check back next week for Secrets 3 and 4 of the 5 Secrets to Simple Client Retention (Part 2)