How to Get It and Keep It
It sounds easy. Treat your customers nicely. Be fair and honest. Provide good products and good service. And customers will stick around, right?
Many companies, NewAge Industries included, have found that it's not always the case. Customers can be indifferent when it comes to where they buy from. They're usually on the lookout for a component that makes their product better or their work easier, an improvement to a process, a lower price. They're human, and often who they buy from – not where – is a deciding factor.
So, whether you're an OEM or a distributor or a contract manufacturer, what can you do to attract and retain loyal customers? Humanize your customers' experiences by starting with this familiar phrase: Treat others as you would like to be treated. It sounds easy enough, but doing so often takes consideration, patience and the ability to empathize.
Each time a customer has a good experience, it builds upon itself. It creates good feelings, and as simple as that sounds, they matter. Those feelings help make the customer want to contact you the next time they have a need.
The whole experience must be good, from the first contact or inquiry (and that goes for whether it's in person, online or by phone or e-mail), to the placement of an order, to packaging and on-time receipt, and to the payment process and experience.
- Your mood/body language/tone of voice can affect the customer's experience.
- A smile can be heard over the phone.
- Customers want to work with knowledgeable people, not someone who says "I don't know." If you don't know, investigate. Say "That's a good question. Let me find out."
- The use of "please" and "thank you" can go a long way.
If you have bad news to deliver – something's backordered, will be late, had a cost increase – do so promptly and with an apology even when you're not personally at fault. You represent your company and need to show the customer that you accept responsibility for the circumstances. View everything from the customer's perspective.
Keeping customers loyal, no matter whether they're business-to-business or business-to-consumer, relies on consistent, dependable service. Follow through and follow up to maintain the relationship. Think about what makes you loyal to an organization.
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