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Believe it or not, entrepreneurs sometimes forget exactly what their challenging, business-building work is for: their customers! Your business is nothing without its customers. While I don’t necessarily believe that the “customer is always right,” there are a few simple skills you need to master to build strong customer .
When you started your business, you probably had a value proposition in mind from day one. Your product, service or solution should have fundamental value, such as saving the end user time or money, entertaining them or addressing a pain point in their daily life.
If we look at a straight cost value example, we can frame it like this: if you sell a good that costs $100, your customer needs to be saving a multiplier of $100 that equals more than their initial investment. At my software company, we chose a multiplier of 10, so a $100 monthly subscription needs to save our clients at least $1,000 every month for me to feel like we are achieving the level of value that I want to see. Not only does this set my sales team up for success, but it also sets our company up for long-term success and lasting customer relationships. We are providing the value proposition we promised.
Beyond the financial bottom line, customer service and relationship building should be built into your company’s core values — it’s truly an easy way to set your business apart from your competitors. My company has a proven formula of providing a top product at a competitive price and treating our customers exceptionally well — it’s not rocket science. Make your customers love you, and they won’t go anywhere else.
Related: 8 Ways Customer Service Affects Your Business’s Bottom Line
Active listening is one of the most critical skills in customer service. You need to understand your clients’ comments, concerns and requests to provide valuable feedback and solutions. Even if you don’t have the capability or resources to solve every single customer service issue you encounter, you always can listen to your customers’ needs and respond appropriately. Engage and empathize with your customers, their frustrations and what they need from you as a business. Incorporate what you hear into changing your approach, product, service or solution for the better.
Related: Why Good Listening Is a Critical Skill for Founders and Entrepreneurs
Responsiveness is a critical skill valued in every industry today. When you are in the listening step, don’t interrupt, make sure to ask questions and ensure you are understanding the issue correctly and collecting the right information. If you cannot provide an immediate answer or solution to a customer, acknowledge their request and keep them in the loop about the status of their concern. What are your next steps? When can they expect a solution? This customer feedback is a critical part of our commitment to continuous improvement.
Related: 4 Simple Ways to Communicate Better With Your Customers
Provide solutions to meet your customers’ needs. Solving and resolving problems will often determine whether or not your customer has a lasting relationship with your company. Customers might remember a pleasant experience with your business in the past, but they’re more likely to remember the interactions where your team went above and beyond to accommodate them.
I have a long-term client who came to our team recently and shared that she was struggling with a specific payment process within the software. Within a week, our team was able to build the client a custom tool that she (and now our other clients) could use to increase efficiency and save valuable time. Instead of focusing on traditional call center metrics like quotas and call times, we take real customer feedback and requests and translate them into new features for our software that will improve user experience. Because of this model, our product is consistently the highest-rated and easiest-to-learn solution on the market.
If you listen to your customers, they will most often actually tell you what to sell them. Pivoting to meet customer demand and implementing customer feedback is the best way to grow your company and set yourself up for continued success.
Related: 5 Ways to Build Killer Relationships With Customers