In any business, the way to improve your bottom line is to improve your front line. The people who deal directly with you customers everyday become the image of your company that the public sees. You also want to deliver a high quality product with great follow up. It will pay any business to realize that keeping a customer is almost always easier than finding a new one. Treat the customer right on all levels, and they will come back to do business with you.
Give your front line a boost in quality.
In a restaurant, your front line is the host or hostess and the servers. In a retail business it is cashiers and departmental people. It is always the people with whom the customers have the most interaction during a business transaction with your company. Using the example of the server in the restaurant, it is easy to see how this works. Nearly everyone has sat in a restaurant waiting for a server to appear. If the servers cannot see an empty glass that needs refilled or bring food on a timely basis, not only will the tip wane, but it becomes less likely that the patron will be dining again there anytime soon. Front line people need to be on their toes and extremely customer oriented.
Deliver that high quality product.
Even with excellent front line staff, a shoddy product will not overcome great customer service. If you sell a bad product, the returns or continued loss of repeat business will eventually sink your corporate ship. You cannot have good enough servers to counter bad food in a restaurant. It is critical that you deliver the product that the customer wants at the quality the customer expects.
In retail, service after the sale is an important aspect of good customer relations.
For auto dealers, having a good service department can bring customers back to buy more cars over and over. Reasonable return policies for retailers is an integral part of good customer relations. Even follow up letters or phone calls can go a long way toward promoting a sense of good feeling between the business and the customer. If a company has a sales force that calls on clients, it is a good plan to have the salesperson responsible for the account to stop by regularly to remind the customer of his or her importance to you company.
Try to give the customer more than is expected.
Most companies try to meet their customer’s expectations. When a company can consistently exceed what is expected, their customer relationships will soar, and so will sales as happy customers tell their friends. Most of the time the difference between a 4 star and 5 star restaurant is the level of service that is offered to the diner. People are usually willing to pay a premium to get superior products and services. Good customer relationships can only improve your bottom line.
The little things mean a lot.
You and your staff need to practice the small things that please customers. People like to hear their own name and be recognized. Stress the importance of learning your customers’ names and using their names frequently when doing business. Give little extras with each purchase. It does not take a lot. Throw in some batteries for products that use them. Give away pens or promotional items often. Have a customer appreciation day at least once per year to make the customers feel like they are the king.