1. Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis. Justas it is bad news to send out too many emails to customers,it is just as bad to not stay in contact with them.Customers don't want to feel abandoned. So don't.
Here are three things to help you stay in touch.
(1) Offer them your ezine subscription at least once amonth.
(2) Ask customers if they want to be updated by e-mail whenyou make changes to your Web site.
(3) Follow-up after each sale to see if they are satisfiedwith their purchase. Send an e-mail out a few days aftertheir purchase, another in a week or two, and then anotherin a month.
2. Create a customer focus group by inviting 10 to 20 loyalcustomers to meet regularly. Alternatively, send out amonthly survey to this group asking for ideas and input onhow to improve your customer service. Give them a reward.Pay them, give them a gift certificate, or send them freeproduct.
3. Have a web site that is easy to navigate. Add afrequently asked question's "FAQ" page and explain anythingthat might confuse your customers or visitors. Follow-upwith an electronic survey with questions on how to increaseyour site's user-friendliness.
4. Resolve customer complaints quickly and completely.Answer all e-mail and phone calls within a few hours. Thiswill show your customers you really care about them.
5. Don't make your customers or visitors hunt for yourcontact information. Make it easy for them to contact you.Offer as many contact methods as possible. Hyperlink allyour e-mail addresses so they don't have to find or type it.Offer a toll free number.
6. If you have strategic alliances or employees, make surethey are familiar with your customer service policy. Giveyour employees bonuses or incentives to practice excellentcustomer service. Tell employees to be flexible with eachindividual customer, each one has different concerns, needsand wants.
7. Give your customers more than they expect. Send thank yougifts to long time customers. E-mail them greeting cards onholidays or birthdays if you have their address or onlinecards if you only have their e-mail address and name. Givebonuses to your customers who make a big purchase ormultiple purchases.
8. U-welcome, please, and thank you and can never be overused. Be polite no matter what. Admit and apologize formistakes quickly and make it up to them in BIG ways if youwant them to continue being a customer.
9. Reward in points -- give customers a point for everydollar they spend. Set up a points-earned sheet. E-mail thecustomer an update monthly. If they send you a referral theyget 10 points, if they buy something add 10 more points.
10. If your business is local, invite customers to youroffice for lunches, parties, barbecues, dances, seminars orother special events.
It isn't what you perceive as valuable but what customerssee from their eyes. Yet, sometimes, you just can't pleasesome folks. If that occurs, do you best and then let it go.You don't want them for clients anyway.
About the Author:
Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing & Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internet writing and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters and articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com blog: http://abundance.blogs.com