July 22, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Do Your Customers Have Fun When Dealing with You?

In previous discussions we have touched on topics relating to making the customer buying experience a pleasant one.  We have discussed various ways to make your customers so uncomfortable that they might very well walk away from your presence entirely, costing you a sale and the profit from it.  You should always make the purchase process so pleasant that your customers will enjoy it, making the experience one that they relish in life.

Remember the things that make the buying experience one that your customers will not want to repeat.  What if you, your retail outlet, your website, or wherever the customer needs to visit is difficult to locate, or you or your employees are rude, disinterested in customers’ needs, or busy with each other?  What if your retail outlet is located in a dangerous part of town or appears shabby or in disrepair, or the hours are erratic?  Inadequate lighting, poor parking, a facility that needs refurbishing, or a hangout for unsavory persons will send customers to somewhere else.

Is the buying process easy if it is online, can the customer get a printed receipt, does the customer know when they will receive their purchase, or is there a way for them to deal with a shipping or product problem?  If not, they may give up on the purchase, and they may never recommend you to anyone else.  Bottom line, is the buying experience pleasant for the customer?

I told someone once that, as a customer, I am high maintenance.  I expect to be treated like the valued customer that I am.  I also expect to be treated like the referral source that I can be.  Every customer that you have, from the one who places the largest order that you have ever written, to the person who buys one of the least expensive products that you have, deserves your best service.  They deserve to be treated as a valued person, as a human being, and as your best customer.  Sell a person one nail with a great buying experience and they will recommend you to someone who might have you build them a house.

Recently I experienced some really bad customer service from a major supplier, a worldwide vendor.  I asked them how they felt about their customer service and how they liked being known for having the worst customer service in their industry.  Their response was to ask me if there was anything else that I wanted to buy at that time.  Their website is filled with errors, their telephone representatives are untrained, and their technical support has no clue about any question I asked.

Over all, do your customers enjoy their buying experience?  Can you say that they have fun when they buy from you?  Do you make them smile and laugh?  Do their family members smile, laugh, and enjoy the experience?  If not, make them do so.  Make them enjoy purchasing from your business; make your employees a part of the business, believing that they have a vested interest in the success of your business.  Your customers should be treated the same by everyone they meet, as valued customers.

So what’s it like buying from your business?  Do your customers laugh, smile, and recommend you to their friends and acquaintances?  Do they run for the exit, slamming the door behind them, vowing to never return?  Would you buy from your business?  Your comments are welcome here, or you can email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Do your customers have fun when buying from you or would they rather pay more just to get their product or service from someone who will value their business?

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