Customer Service – keeping customers happy and gaining new ones in tough economic times

I wrote a guest blog for ‘The Best of Hinckley’ this week, so have republished it here. You can see the post in it’s original setting here.

People have a limited amount of money in their pockets during these tough economic times and they are being more and more selective about where they spend it.  What can you do to help them spend it with you?

Whatever your business, I believe that the same basic principles will always apply …

  • treat your customers well
  • ensure that you talk to them regularly
  • remember who they are and what they like

… and they will come back time and time again.

Of course, you might say that works when you are selling the best and the cheapest product but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that exlusive or low cost a product to get good customer retention (people will often sacrifice a little of quality, and pay a little more if they know they are going to have a good experience buying it).

Customer Experience

In practice, here are just a few examples of the companies, local and national, that I think have amazing service:

The Barber of Bosworth – I know that hairdressers are meant to talk to you but most of the ones I have been to before will talk about where I went on holiday, etc. but Leanne at The Barber of Bosworth knows her customers; she knows how old my daughter is, her name and what I do for a living.  There are many hairdressers much closer to where I live, but I drive for 15 minutes and pay for parking to get a haircut there!  How could you do something similar in your business?

Barwell Butchers – every time I go in, I get a smile and conversation when I buy local and high-quality food that isn’t ridiculously priced! In your everyday life, is there a chance that you could make someone smile?  If you can, they’ll come back!

Moo.com – it is pretty difficult to be different when you make a business card, right?  Well, where everyone else sells themselves on being the cheapest, Moo go for the WOW factor. Fancy having a picture on your business card? How about a different picture on every card in your pocket? Think what effect it would have handing out a unique business card – will that make you stand out in the minds of your customers?

Using new technologies – Social Media

One of the interesting things that has started to happen recently is for companies to conduct their customer service online.  I did a bit of research this morning and I couldn’t find many local businesses on twitter (the micro-blogging service).  Using Twitter well can help you to gain new customers, keep people engaged and improve your retention rate.

How to use Twitter effectively is a whole other blog post though but the first rule is simple – be there!

Strategic Partnerships

Don’t be afraid to go over the top, or join up with another company to create something amazing…how about this as an example. I work for a large national publisher that offers £15 of stickers free on every order placed, even when the value of the order is lower than £15.  Crazy, right?

Not really, the stickers are provided by another company that specialises in stickers.  The free gift gives my customers the warm glow and enhances our retention rate, the sticker company gets exposure and follow-up orders.

I trust that my first blog post on the bestofhinckley has sparked some thought and in particular, what can you do to make your business stand out, how can you retain your important customers and are you spreading the word about ‘your amazing business’?

2 thoughts on “Customer Service – keeping customers happy and gaining new ones in tough economic times

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Customer Service – keeping customers happy and gaining new ones in tough economic times | chrisrat.com -- Topsy.com

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