Customer service strategies must take many factors into consideration, including things like what you’re selling, who your clients are, and the practicalities of your sales and marketing processes.
That said, there’s a fundamental command that applies to every single business: make the customer happy.
“Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” Lisa Masiello
Happy customers often buy again. They attract more customers by generating social proof, like positive reviews and testimonials. And they serve as brand ambassadors by recommending you to others.
Ultimately, happy customers are your most valuable asset because they build your brand’s reputation for value – and that reputation is the foundation of business growth and longevity.
Question: So how do you create (and keep) happy clients?
Answer: You consistently adhere to the timeless principles of relationship building.
Principle #1: Build trust first.
Don’t attack perspective customers with your “pitch” before you know them (or they know you). It’s unsettling.
In face-to-face situations, a lot of this is about body language, personal space, etc. No one enjoys a pushy salesperson. Or being trapped at an event with someone who’s aggressively “working the room”. Even if you’re mildly interested in what they’re selling, your natural inclination is to try and escape.
The online equivalent is a website polluted with pop ups – especially when they appear immediately and scream at you to buy now or sign up for something. It’s too much, too soon. And it makes the whole website feel a little… shady.
Whether you’re selling offline or online, always lead with warm greetings and some form of social proof. Press pause on SELLING until you’ve built trust.
Principle #2: Don’t oversell.
Be honest about what you provide. Let the strengths of your goods and services stand on their own merit.
It’s wonderful to be confident and believe in what you’re selling. But when you make unrealistic promises, you’re destined to disappoint. And disappointed customers don’t just avoid you in the future. They TELL OTHER PEOPLE about their experiences.
Negative word-of-mouth gets out of hand quickly. This is especially true today, when everyone from school kids to their grandparents has a social media following!
Principle #3: Keep it as simple as possible.
Providing a few options and choices is fine, but there’s a point where decision-making becomes exhausting.
Have you ever been to a restaurant where the menu is too big? A clothing store where the racks are over-stuffed? A website with a zillion pages?
Even if the offerings are great, the experience is disconcerting.
Whenever possible, prioritize simplicity. Make sure the customer’s perspective feels confident and isn’t distracted or confused in any way.
Remember that it’s your job to make the journey from prospect to customer smooth and relaxing.
Principle #4: Be polite and personable.
It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is, if the personal interactions are lacking luster, you’ve failed.
Even if you make the sale, you’ve failed, because that person is NOT coming back. And they’re NOT sending other people your way.
In case you think this doesn’t apply to online sales… think again.
You can definitely demonstrate politeness – and impoliteness – online. For example, simple things like adding “please” and “thank you” (where appropriate) are important. Clear, reasonable order and return policies are also respectful. And helpful customer support options are both polite and a great way to build trust.
Principle #5: Always follow up.
Your follow-up doesn’t need to be long or complicated. In fact, in accordance with Principle #3, you should keep it as simple as possible. Personally, I don’t have time in my day to complete in-depth customer surveys. And I suspect that others feel the same.
That said, a quick, personalized follow up is a lovely opportunity to gather feedback and a positive testimonial. And it extends your relationship, which improves the odds for referrals and repeat business!
Conclusion: It’s Easy To Make (And Keep) Happy Customers
Technologies change. Markets evolve. World events crash into things now and again. But at the end of the day, the simple principles of relationship building hold true. So stick with the basics. They’re easy to remember – and they create happy customers:
- Follow Up
🚀Regardless of what you are selling, who you are selling it to, or where you are selling it, repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth is rocket fuel!
Kim Scaravelli is an entrepreneur, marketer, content consultant, and author of the book, Making Words Work. In it, she provides practical advice on how to strengthen your creativity and gain confidence in your writing skills.
Kim’s popular newsletter, Writing & Other Stuff, arriving in inboxes every second Wednesday, filled with writing tips, timely insights, and resources. You can sign up at kimscaravelli.com.