- August 20, 2019
- Posted by: Alyson Van Hooser
- Category: customer service
No matter your gender, generation or geography, there are a few things you can do every time you interact with a customer that will increase customer retention rates. Check out these practical, actionable tips for you and your team to implement today!
Increase Customer Retention
As service professionals, how to increase customer retention rates can feel like a really difficult goal to accomplish 😅. I’m going to help make it pretty easy for you. You don’t have to have the absolute latest and greatest technology. You don’t have to have the highest grade coffee and fresh-baked cookies in your lobby. Believe it or not, most of the time customers care more about how you make their heart feel than how you make their wallet and their belly feel. (An example? I’ll wait in line for Chik-Fil-A for 30 minutes, with my crazy toddlers, pay three times what I could at other fast-food restaurants… just so I can deal with people who say “My Pleasure“😂.
Here are 3 tips that will help you and your team create deeper connections with your customers…no matter if they are male or female, young or old, from New York City or small town USA.
Find Something to Smile About
From the time customers walk into your lobby, pull up to your window, see you open the door to their hospital room, or hear your voice when you answer their call — they are focusing on you. The expression on your face (or in your voice…) will set the tone for their experience.
If your customers don’t get a welcoming, positive vibe from you and your people, they will easily be captivated by your competitor who does make them feel that way.
To be a successful customer service professional, you must take the Superior Position. The Superior Position is not about putting yourself and your feelings first. Instead, the Superior Position is about putting others first. If you want to increase your customer retention rates, choose to find something to authentically smile about every time you get to interact with your customers.
Authentic smiles are contagious and when you choose to take this action, your customers will feel the difference and be more drawn to you. Now, don’t make it creepy and keep a smile on your face the entire time, if it’s not appropriate. When your smile becomes fake, your customers will notice and disengage.
How can you authentically smile even when you don’t feel like it? Think about what makes you the happiest — your friends, your kids, your spouse, The Office, etc. Next time you are about to interact with a customer, think about that. You will make them feel good and you will be re-focusing yourself on the best things in life. That’s a win-win!
Appreciatively Acknowledge the Customer First & Fast
I’ve seen it too many times where the customer comes second to whatever the employee is doing at the moment.
Have you ever walked in somewhere and couldn’t find someone to help you, or worse, it felt like everyone you saw DIDN’T want to help you? Their eyes darted from you. They didn’t look up from their computer as they said, “Can I help you?”
That makes you want to turn around and go down the street to the competitor, right? The same is true for your customers.
Next time you are within eye-sight of a customer, appreciatively acknowledge them first and fast. Don’t wait for them to say hello. If you want to increase your customer retention, the first move is yours to make.
As a leader, if you and your team make sure that every single customer coming in your door, calling your business or interacting with your employees is appreciatively acknowledged QUICKLY — and with an authentic smile — you’ll already be performing better than most of your competitors. Customers will notice and will want to keep doing business with you because you are making them feel important.
Listen & Don’t Interrupt
This past week I led training for a group of leaders on listening skills in the modern workplace. Just as most every group of leaders Van Hooser Associates, Inc. has trained over the past 30 years, none of them had ever had formal education on how to listen well. Listening is a critical skill to becoming a highly successful professional, and it’s a skill that can be learned to do well by everyone!
(Do you need some help improving the skills of your people? Our Secrets to Influential Service & Professionalism training could help — let’s talk.)
When you listen well, you can learn so much.
If you want to increase your customer retention rate, listen to your customers and don’t interrupt them.
If you interrupt your customers, you could cause them to change their message. They might feel like you don’t care what they have to say so they choose not to finish their message. The customer might feel like you disagree with them, so they will not tell you the truth. They might lose their train of thought and not get to the real meat of the matter. If you interrupt your customers, you likely will not get all the information you need to serve them in the way they want. All this adds up to less satisfied customers more likely to move to one of your competitors.
But if you listen, you will have opportunities to hear what they want and you can meet their needs before they have an opportunity to search anywhere else. When you listen and take appropriate action, you can increase sales, innovate faster and increase your customer retention levels!
Leaders Impact on Team Performance
As a leader, it is your responsibility to inspire and equip your people to perform at their best. Through that process, you have to measure each team member’s performance so you can uncover the efforts you need to celebrate 🎉 and the areas you need to remediate 🆘.
Make awesome customer service fun! Share this article with your people and acknowledge, encourage and celebrate when you see them start making these small moves! You’ll inspire them to do it more often and at a higher level! Together, you can increase your customer retention rate!
For more practical, actionable ways you and your team can work to increase your customer retention rates, check out Willie’s Way: 6 Secrets for Wooing, Wowing and Winning Customers and Their Loyalty. For a chance to win a FREE Kindle version of Willie’s Way, click here!
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