In the words of Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army, “Don’t Panic”. This is not an article about whether we, here at terptree, think Brexit is a good or bad thing. Brexit is now looking very real and it is time to take stock of how we, as businesses, can make the most of what Brexit may bring and Brexit Proof your business.
Now, we understand that it is a turbulent time for all organisations and we are venturing into the unknown. This clearly brings anxiety, worry and, yes, even panic.
The unknown is a scary place, so much so that often we spend so much time worrying about all the bad things that can happen, we forget to look for the good things that might happen. Or, we can spend so much time worrying that we don’t take action to stop the bad thing happening, and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I have a long standing background working with businesses; and have worked alongside a number of businesses helping them with risk management and change management. I know that fundamentally change can be difficult, as can trying to foresee the risks that change brings and how to overcome them.
We can’t always control what happens to us. But we can, however, control how we handle the change, and we are in a position to take charge of protecting and insulating our businesses.
We all know that one of the key things any business should be doing is looking after their customers and now is the time to revisit the importance of this if you are not doing so already. Keeping your existing customers, both deaf and hearing, close, will be ever more essential in these turbulent times.
So how can you ensure first class customer service happens in your business so that the worry does doesn’t take over?
Well, the best cure for worry is taking action. Action trumps worry every time (that wasn’t a reference to American politics by the way!). By taking action (and we mean big action here), you will strengthen your business in the wake of what may come.
We have been doing a lot of work lately around what world class customer service means to us at terptree and we thought we would share five of the ideas we came up with. Remember, these are things you can do for both your deaf and hearing customers to make sure they return and return again.
1. Think like your customer
Being able to accurately think like your customer means you can put measures in place to provide first class customer service. Asking yourself what good customer service looks like for you and remembering that your customer probably thinks the same, is a good starting place for this.
Have proper conversations with your customers to find out what they want. Each conversation is the chance for something to lead to a meeting and/or a sale. Not just once, but over and over again.
Keep up the communication after each transaction. Send thank you cards to new and existing customers. They will appreciate it and you will remind lapsed customers about your products or services and encourage new customers to return and stay loyal.
2. Invest your time
Take time to keep your customers close. If appropriate, run events, follow up quickly with everyone who makes an enquiry and above all, make it easy for them to buy from you – don’t turn them away if they are ready to make a sale.
I know this sounds obvious, but I was in a very well-known retailer just recently who did not have what I wanted in stock and did not even offer to have one ordered in for me. In fact, they didn’t seem very interested in taking my money at all.
There I was, ready to buy, would have even paid there and then if I knew it was on its way. Instead I went down the road and bought it elsewhere (and even got it cheaper, so it was their loss and my gain!).
Now you might think that it won’t matter to a big business to lose out on a sale, but imagine that repeated day in day out and the fact that each of those customers won’t come back for future purchases either. Now think about what has happened to some huge high street names in recent years and you will realise that no-one can afford to miss a trick in this area.
This is about building your marketing collateral and have systems in place you can automate and repeat so that you can keep in touch with all your customers frequently and in a timely way. No-one likes to contact a business and wait a week for a response. Getting a response, even it an automated on, saying that someone will get in touch within a certain time frame, is better than hearing nothing. This isn’t about getting robots to replace the human element, it’s about making sure you keep in touch with your customers so that the humans have more time to provide a first class service.
4. Remember that Perception is Everything
How do your customers perceive you? What are you known as, or known for? Is this the same thing you want to be seen as or known for? If not, then work on your positioning in the market to make sure you and your business have an edge over the competition.
Get reviews and testimonials to prove how great you are at customer service and publish them, be active on social media, listen to what is going on in your industry and write blogs, articles or hold live sessions on the issues.
5. Be Unique
In today’s competitive market, you need to have an edge over everyone else and make them want to return and talk about you.
Make your service memorable (in a good way) so that your customers tell everyone they know. We always remember really good or really bad customer service, yet it is getting tougher and tougher to be good without also being unique and memorable. I’m not suggesting you dress everyone up in costume (although I am still wanting us to hold superhero day so that I get the chance to dress up!) but doing something memorable will help keep your customers loyal and coming back for more.
In closing, I would say that regardless of what is happening with Brexit; providing memorable and top notch customer service is essential in future proofing your business; whoever your customers are and whatever their communication needs might be.
We would love to hear how you are providing your customers with great customer service.