Showing Thanks: Inexpensive Differentiator or Missed Opportunity
I’ve noticed lately that one of the easiest, most important (and relatively inexpensive) customer service techniques often goes over-looked. In our ever-evolving world of technology, it’s easy to increase automation for improved efficiency. However, one unintended result is that we sometimes end up forgetting our manners.
Just as important in today’s economy as it was when we first learned proper etiquette, is taking the time to properly thank your customers. I think every business owner can remember their first sale. The excitement, the enticement of endless possibility and most importantly - the gratitude. Why should subsequent sales be any less important?
Properly thanking your customers can mean many different things. Do you have an automated email thank you for online orders? What does it say? Does it sound automated? Consider adding a personal touch to your automated responses so that customers know you are paying attention. Add an invitation to an upcoming event since they purchased from you this month. Let them know of next month’s annual cellar sale. Keep it updated often and don’t let it get stale. Good customer service is a key differentiator between you and your competition. Automated “thank you’s” like “Your transaction has been processed.” or “Thank You.” don’t help your customers remember you. Going the extra mile will. What else do you do to say thanks? In addition to a warm and friendly thank you email, also consider calling customers at random to personally thank them, or slipping a hand-written thank you note into some out-going shipments. Even if you don’t have the budget or man-power to do this for every single customer, doing it sporadically will make a difference for that one individual - it’s like winning the customer service lottery for the day.
A proper thank you goes a long way – it is common courtesy and makes a customer more likely to return once you’ve shown you truly appreciate their business. Positive brand recognition and word of mouth referrals are the strongest advertisement you can get. Set the bar high for customer service and you can’t go wrong. Your customers will take note, and your competition will too.