This is a hard blog post for me to write, because it is something that I do badly at. But the right thing to do is so easy to see. There are two things that you can do to keep your customers coming back. First is to make sure that they know that they're special to you. Second is to stay in touch with them after they make a purchase. Think about how much time, money, and work you go through to get a new customer. For larger businesses, this is one of their biggest expenses. For someone new starting out, this is always the biggest hurdle to get over.
It used to amaze me to see a small business owner take their focus off of their customer. I would hear someone say "thanks, come again" real fast without paying a lot of attention, and think that they could do so much better. Then I started doing the same thing with our customers. There are so many things to do with a business (keeping employees on track, keeping inventory in stock, getting new products for customers, keeping track of finances, and on and on and on), that taking care of a customer starts to seem like a low priority. When I get overloaded with too many things to do, I try to get everything done really fast...including servicing customers. Do I look or sound pre-occupied with other things. Am I rushing someone along too fast. Do I have a genuine smile that comes from inside of me, or am I wanting to get away from my customer to finish some "really important" task instead. So how do you get past this.
As a sometimes failing student, here's two things that I can do to improve. First, remind myself that my customer is a real person with real feelings. They are just like you and me. They want to know that they are special. So have empathy, and act the way that I would want someone else to act with me. Second, remember what the really important work that I do is. There are some things that I do that are worth maybe $1. per hour. There are other things that I do that are probably worth $100. per hour. You want to spend as much of your time as you can on the most valuable tasks. How valuable are your customers? How important is the time and attention that you give to them. Even more impressive is how much extra time does it take to treat someone really nice instead of "most efficiently". It only takes a little bit longer to make someone feel special than it does to get them taken care of in the most basic way. Once your customer knows they are special to you, you are half way done. The next half of the job is to make sure that they remember you the next time that they are ready to buy something. You will see how to do this better, faster and easier in part 2 of this blog post. Africa Imports has dozens of other ways to grow your business in our free business articles section.