All the best entrepreneurs are in on this secret: it's not about getting customers – it's about keeping them. All startup entrepreneurs remember their first sale, but they know that real success lies in getting customers to come back Competition in the startup world can be stiff, so customer loyalty can really make or break a business. Entrepreneurs may have a lot on their plates, but great customer service is always well worth the effort.
Here are some classic, inexpensive ways to keep your customers coming back for more.
Get to know your customers.
This should be a no-brainer. Building personal relationships with customers is the key to letting them know that you're truly committed to their business needs. Communicating with and listening to your customers, whether in person or via email, phone, or social media (more on that last one later), makes them feel like they are dealing with a real person rather than a brand.
Young startups have a special advantage on this front. In the early stages of any company, business can be slow. But if you only have a handful of customers, there's no excuse to not reach out to them. As a customer, when you feel a product or service is tailored for you, wouldn't you keep coming back?
Social media – it's (mostly) free! Facebook and Twitter are just two of dozens of social media platforms that can help you to engage with your customers. Via social media, you can hang out with your customers in a place that they feel comfortable. It's a far more neutral space than your website or blog. Actively communicating with customers not only humanizes your product, it also gives them a reason to feel more connected to your company. Whether positive or negative, you should always respond to your customers' comments. It'll show that your company feels accountable for its product. And the best part? It doesn't cost a thing.
It's all about the extras.
In the world of customer service, it's really the little things that count. Handwritten thank you notes, special offers on birthdays, silly packaging details that show you're human – this is the stuff of great customer care. By going the extra mile, you set your company apart from your competition and prove to your customers that your company is one worth sticking to.
Ask for feedback.
You may have a great product, but it never hurts to ask your customers how you can improve it. Asking your customers for their input not only helps you to offer better goods and services, but also helps them to feel more invested in your product. It's a win-win.
Special to The Globe and Mail