Give them your number
No, really. Give your clients and customers your personal cell phone number.
This trick is an example of good, old fashioned reverse psychology, and has the opposite effect of what you may think.
You’ll find that because people know they can get in touch with you whenever they want, they’re much less likely to actually call. Simply having your number is enough. It makes customers feel empowered and cared for. Because they have instant access to you should something go wrong, they can breathe easy and actually enjoy the full scope of your product or service.
Sure, you may get the odd call here and there. But it will be well worth the army of loyal customers you’ve grown by positioning yourself as a small business owner who is at the beck and call of each and every client.
Keep your word
One of the most effective ways to keep clients happy is simply by doing what you say you’re going to do. There’s no faster way to lose trust than by breaking promises, so it’s essential that you only commit to what you know can be delivered.
Be impeccable with your word. Take care when communicating with your customers and making guarantees. It’s always better to under-promise and overdeliver, as opposed to promising the world to get someone excited then failing to follow through.
If you have an upcoming deadline with your client and know you won’t be finished until Wednesday, tell them you’ll have it to them by Friday. That way, when delivery occurs two days early, you’ve created those feelings of pleasant surprise that will make your customer glad they chose you.
If you find you’re not able to keep your word, you should always…
Engage in acknowledgment
Forget hiding your head in the sand. Own up to your mistakes immediately, and acknowledge the fact that something went wrong. If you can’t meet a deadline or an order was never shipped, contact the client immediately and communicate what’s happened.
Acknowledgment creates intimacy between you and your customer. When you’re able to admit your mistakes, the customer feels like they’re not being lied to. They feel trusted and confided in, and are able to recognize the shared humanity between the two of you.
When you acknowledge your own mistakes, you remove the customer’s need to point them out. Be sincere and specific, and tell them a) how you’re going to solve the problem, and b) how you’re going to prevent it from happening again.
Be true to yourself
The best way to keep clients happy is to begin by being true to yourself.
Don’t offer products or services that you don’t want to give. Don’t set longer hours than you are comfortable working. Don’t go above and beyond for others if it means sacrificing your own sanity.
It’s been said that you can’t love another until you love yourself. You also can’t truly serve your clients without first serving yourself.
When you create policies, procedures and products that bring you joy, that joy will automatically translate to your customers. Don’t commit to 24/7 availability or free shipping or bi-weekly sales if doing so is simply going to stress you out. A good small business practice is only good if in addition to working for your clients, it also works for you.
How do you keep your clients happy?
photo credits: www.designerfreelance.net, www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk, www.agent-seo.com