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Stop trying to delight your customers; give them practical help instead


In the fifth article in our five-part series, Barrett Consulting founder, Sue Barrett, explores what it takes to inspire loyalty in your clients.

We all feel good when our customers are delighted. However, the longevity of your working relationship isn’t dependent on forever rolling out shiny new sales and marketing services, but on how you can reduce the clients’ time spent on the basics.

A survey by the Customer Contact Council (CCC) has found that exceeding customer expectations during service interactions has a negligible impact on customer loyalty. It seems customers are more interested in a company delivering on their core promises.

If you can reduce your customers’ efforts by helping them solve problems quickly and easily you’ll create loyal customers. Here are five tips on how to really build a valuable relationship with your customers:

  1. Don’t just resolve the current issue; head off the next one
  2. Address the emotional side of customer interactions
  3. Minimise channel switching by boosting self-serve stickiness – 57% of complaints come from customers who are unable to resolve issues themselves online
  4. Use feedback from unhappy customers to streamline your issue resolution process
  5. Empower the front line to deliver a low-effort customer experience

These points lead me to customer service. We need to take customer service seriously and view it as an assertive act rather than a mere relationship-building exercise.

I prefer to view customer service as a proactive role – one that can be more demanding than just selling. Dealing with problems, providing advice, answering questions, and being at all times polite and friendly ain’t no walk in the park.

People who perform customer service best are those who genuinely enjoy interacting with others. They get real satisfaction from helping people get what they need. To boot, they’re resilient, calm, and thick-skinned whilst being sensitive to the feelings and needs of others.

If you can find the right people to perform your customer service, let them delight the client while you and your sales and marketing teams deliver what you promised, building customer loyalty in the process.

Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Visit www.barrett.com.au