Sunday, January 11, 2009

Customer Service=Convenience

It has been my believe that what customers really want is EASY. Make it easy for them to do business with you and you will have a customer for life. Even in tough economic times most people still value convenience over price. 

It is amazing how many people make it hard for their customers to do business with them. Everything from making finding their phone number on their website into an Easter Egg hunt (tip: have your phone number as the footer on every page or at least have a clear "contact us" navigation button) to responding to emails and phone messages quickly (tip: 24 hours is TOO long these days. People want to hear back the same day if at all possible)

People need/want to have what they want quickly. Anything you put in their way ends up costing you the customer. We all have way too many choices where to do business. Easy to do business with will end up winning.

Yes, even "free" services need to be convenient. An article in the Star Community Newspaper talks about Shelley Holley, who has taken over the roll of library director at the Frisco Public Library. Holley's goal is to make her library relevant and convenient. She hopes to create a central area where where patrons can " things that sometimes now you have to go to several different areas of the library to do." Holley said.

What can you do to make it EASY for your customer to do business with you?
Look at these areas, as your customer might:

Phone systems. Have a friend or relative (who doesn't know the secret routes) to try and call your business. We sometimes haven't tried our own system since it was put in. If they they have to go through more than two sets of prompts you are NOT easy.

Email. Again, have someone outside attempt to contact you by email. How long did it take to get their mail responded to?

Parking. Is it easy to get into and out of your building. Sometimes you can control the parking but you can get innovative. Holiday Market has valet parking during holiday peak hours.

Returns. Yes, people can take advantage of liberal return policies. But I know people who ONLY shop at stores that allow returns easily. If you feel the need to have policies to protect you than make sure that they are clearly marked EVERYWHERE (Ie. on the sales slip, on your website, at the cashier etc. It doesn't hurt to have the salesperson say it out loud.

These are just a few of the ways you need to make your business easy. Now, let's hear from you.
What have you done to make your business easy? Or, what have others done that have made it hard for you to do business with them.

A prize to the best response!


justin said...

You would think that these elements are common sense but they're not. These days its not so much selling as it is just helping people to buy. Like the post, its a good point to make.

Darcell said...

I would like to just comment that I am amazed and impressed every time I visit Target. They have a great return policy and they are super fast at taking your money and returning it!

I think all companies should be modeled after Target.