Business and pleasure aren’t all that different at times. A successful relationship between the business and the consumer follows the same pattern to that of a successful romantic relationship. If your significant other isn’t happy with how they’re being treated then they won’t stick around much longer, and neither will your customer. It’s important to make customers feel good to increase sales, and to build a more positive relationship with the buyers on whom your business depends.
Here are 4 simple steps that any business can take to successfully flirt with and woo customers. While you’re at it, your significant other won’t object to these steps either…
1. Be Quick to Apologise
Nothing kills a relationship faster than an inability to accept responsibility, and this is doubly true in the case of a business relationship. With romance, it’s important for both sides to admit to their mistakes, but unfortunately the adage doesn’t go ‘the customer is right 50% of the time’.
If something doesn’t meet your customer’s needs or requirements, respond quickly and politely. Offer a sincere apology that they are unhappy with the situation, and be willing to listen to their complaint.
Often a customer (or a romantic partner) doesn’t feel the mistake is so serious that it must terminate the relationship, but they want a chance to share their concerns, and most importantly, feel that their input is appreciated.
However, don’t think that a verbal or even written apology is enough. The customer needs to know that you understand the problem, and have every intention of finding a way to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Actions speak louder than words, and a half-hearted apology will just further frustrate a customer when a thoughtful gesture could rescue the relationship. Offering a discount, free delivery or small gift will have a huge impact on the customer’s experience, and the positive feedback that they share with family and friends will far outweigh the initial complaint.
2. Work on Problems as They Arise
If one partner has concerns which they don’t voice, there is little chance of the progression of a healthy relationship. However, in business there is the added advantage that the customer rarely feels coy about expressing a problem, and is likely to raise the topic at the nearest opportunity.
If you allow problems within your sales process to stagnate, they will not be resolved and will simply continue to alienate consumers. Furthermore, this conveys the message to your existing customers that they are not important to you, and neither is their satisfaction.
Instead, seek to address issues as soon as they become apparent, and don’t allow a sense of frustration to develop. Learn from mistakes, and immediately take measures to ensure that these problems don’t occur again.
In addition, if you notice an issue before the customer, don’t wait to see if they spot it too. If there’s a delay in delivery, call them and let them know. Honesty goes a long way, and the consumer is generally far happier to wait if they know that the situation is being monitored.
If a customer has been incorrectly charged, begin to resolve the problem, and then get in touch to let them know that you are already working on it. Don’t let the customer think that you were hoping they hadn’t noticed; this looks dishonest, unprofessional and opportunistic.
3. Keep Your Promises
Once again, actions speak louder than words, and empty promises can hurt both a relationship and a business more than anything else. Every promise that is inevitably not met further erodes the trust between the two parties, and in business, particularly ecommerce, trust is absolutely essential. Always do what you promise the customer.
If you can’t meet the expectation, then don’t promise it.
We know that running an ecommerce business is incredibly hard work, and that it’s very easy to forget about things or let them slip. It’s wise to implement processes which help you monitor your customer service and ensure that you don’t accidentally fail to honour a promise that you have made to a customer.
4. Let Your Customer Know How Special They Are
If your partner doesn’t know how much you care about them, it won’t be long before they begin to feel unappreciated, and wonder if they could be with someone who treats them better. Business customers follow the same model, but with two notable differences:
- Customers tend to lack sentimental attachment to a retailer, especially an impersonal online store*, that frequently makes a romantic partner stick around for longer than they should. They are likely to have few qualms about ditching that particular interaction and actively seeking a new one.
- The default position of a buyer is to assume that a company is entirely self-centred and that they have no interest in their clientele other than the profit that can be extracted from them. So when a business takes the time to show customers that they are appreciated, it really makes them stand out and builds high levels of loyalty and CLV.
*We know that many successful businesses have a much stronger sense of personality and storytelling than traditional retailers. However, you need to make this work for you, and not rest on your laurels.
Zappos’ founder and CEO Tony Hsieh, says,
“Our philosophy has been to take most of the money we would have spent on paid advertising and invest it into customer service and customer experience instead, letting our customers do the marketing for us through word of mouth.”
There are loads of practical ways that you can make customers feel special, but to forge a reputation for excellent customer service this principle needs to underpin everything that you do.
Make Customers Feel Good to Increase Sales
Flirting with customers is one of the best ways to increase your conversions. If they feel well treated they are far more likely to buy your products and come back for more.
Creating this kind of culture within your ecommerce business is a great way to increase sales – and it’s a win for everybody involved.