7 things your customers need to hear you say, winning customer service
As a crochet business owner, entrepreneur or solopreneur there are certain things you need to do better than most and having exceptional customer service is one. I still get surprised when I see business owners openly complaining about their customers, vendors or venture partners. Isn’t it time to really get a handle on what you should or shouldn’t do as you grow your business? Let’s start with the customer and remember that anyone you come into contact with is potentially a customer on some level and needs to be treated as such.
If someone does something for you, says something nice about you or your business, buys from you or refers a friend to your business, one of the easiest ways to really show appreciation is to say “thank you”. A verbal thank you is great, but if you want to go above and beyond the call of duty, why not send a written thank you note, a $5 coffee gift card or if you really want to blow them away, send a movie gift card, a package of microwave popcorn and a note that says “have a relaxing night on me as a thank you for your _____”. Thank you still goes a long way today.
Yes, you may have a complaining customer on the line or in an email, you may even be feeling a bit defensive and angry, but the best way to diffuse the situation and get back to a place or discussion is to say “I’m sorry”. It may seem basic, but you would be surprised by the number of people who hold on to their defensive feelings and anger and don’t say I’m sorry. I’m sorry doesn’t mean you were wrong, it only means you’re sorry they feel the way they do. It doesn’t mean they’re right, it only means you’re listening. Try saying I’m sorry to a customer who is a little peeved for whatever reason and watch how quickly the situation may change.
“Let me see what I can do”
Your customer has just told you of a situation that has occurred. They are not very happy and you’ve said you were sorry. The next best phrase to use is “Let me see what I can do”. Not only does it diffuse the situation, but it helps them see that you are truly listening to what they’ve said and that you’re interested in making it better. Let me see what I can do is one of the best ways to put some distance between all parties and the situation at hand and give everyone time to gain perspective. However, if you say it, you should mean it and actually “DO” something. Saying you’ll look into it gives you time to come up with a solution when tensions are lower, but it doesn’t erase the problem. “Let me see what I can do” is a promise you should intend to keep.
Have you ever had something happen to you in the morning that shaped the rest of your day? If it was something wonderful you smiled and were wonderful to everyone you met. If it was challenging, anything could set your blood to boiling. It’s the same with your customers. When they are calling or emailing with a problem, the tone they take with you may have nothing to do with you directly. They may have experienced something challenging and it’s shaping their responses that day. What can you do about that? Listen. Truly listen, then say “I understand”. Once you’ve done that, sincerely, you’ll be surprised at how easy it will be to have a conversation about the situation at hand. Just like you, your customer has up days and down days so a little understanding can go a long way to help you keep a customer for life.
“I appreciate you”
This may seem a little silly to some, but don’t you want to know that you’re appreciated? You may not say it verbally to your customer, although that would be great too, but you can show your appreciation in many other ways. A coupon for a future purchase, a small gift with their purchase, a referral to a shop that may have what they’re looking for but you don’t make or carry. Customers are looking for appreciation because they are spending their time and money with you. If they feel as if they are just another customer or number, you may get the first sale, but there won’t be much beyond that. Appreciate your customers in ways you can think up. Unexpected ways that will make an impression. I’ll bet if you said to them “I appreciate you” that would really make their day. But as in everything, be sincere, we all can tell when it’s not truly genuine.
“You’re welcome / my pleasure / no problem”
Ok, so this may seem elementary, but how many times have you said “sure” or “yup” after you’ve heard the words “Thank you”? I’d venture to say that many people, myself included, do that to keep ourselves from truly opening up. However, doesn’t it feel better when you hear someone say “you’re welcome” with a smile? Or what about “it was my pleasure” and genuinely mean it? Remember, whatever you’d love to receive as a customer, your customer is looking for. The more genuine you are in your response to them, the more likely you are to have a favorable outcome that benefits everyone. If you’re genuinely happy to have been of service, then accept their thanks graciously. They’ll remember and love you for it.
“How may I help you?”
I know it may seem strange that I listed this one last, but we know it isn’t the least. “How may I help you?” is a loaded question that can receive a some answers, but simply opening up that door sometimes is enough. If you are a crochet business, you are providing a product. How can you help your customer with the product you offer? How can you make their experience with you as memorable or pleasurable as possible? Can you offer to create something they’re having a hard time finding? Can you find out who can make it for them and send a referral? Remember, being in business is not about you, it’s about what you’re offering and the audience you’re offering it to. “How may I help you?” Listen to the answers, they may surprise you or even send you in a direction you didn’t see coming.
Have you heard this before? If so, how have you incorporated it into your business practice? Tell me in the comments below, you know I love to hear your stories!