Last week Paddy McGuinness posted on Twitter. And as you can
see from the screenshot below. It says
Found out a shop nearby has
put the price of hand sanitizer up from 99p to £4.99! How do these people sleep
at night? That’s the price of milk, bread and eggs for families that are
already financially stretched. Sad to hear but even sadder that I’m not
This, of course, is due to the coronavirus epidemic that’s
happening at the moment. And it reminded me of when there was a petrol crisis
many years ago,
My local garage doubled the price of fuel overnight, as it
was in such short supply.
Yes, he thought he was being clever. He knew that it was all a case of supply and demand. And as he had the only petrol left in the town, everyone was going to go to him and would have no choice but to pay the price he demanded.
All well and good, or so he thought. He made some extra money. Quite a lot actually. But what happened when the petrol shortage
came to an end? His regular customers
boycotted him and told everybody else to boycott him also.
Three months later and he was bankrupt. The garage closed.
Before you think about taking advantage of your loyal
customers, think of the long term impact, rather than immediate gains for
yourself. Why not try building even more
loyalty by doing something special to help those customers in their time of
Come on, folks. Don’t be greedy. Look after others, and they’ll look after you.
As you may already realise by now, I am a stickler for
And I believe it’s the little things that make the big
As Maya Angelou famously quoted:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Think about how you leave people feeling in your business. Are there any small changes that could make a big difference in how you make prospects and clients feel?
service isn’t rocket science. It
really is the little things such as a smile, a handwritten note, or a follow up
to see how they are.
We tend to spend time focusing on wooing our prospects to
turn them into clients and a big failing is stopping this once they have purchased. These people can become our best marketers if
we continue to show we care about them.
Send a thank you card, email to see if they are happy with their purchase or send a client only special offer for a future purchase.
And here are a few examples that I have come across just
Good customer service
Received a package on a low-cost item where they had included a small bag of sweets – nice touch.
Had an online chat to discuss a problem. After the chat, I received a lovely email with the direct contact details for the person I had been chatting to so I could go to them directly if any further problems (no having to repeat the problem again which is so frustrating).
An order was messed up and after trying to find out what happened, the customer services chap gave me false information to try and fob me off (very bad customer service). I emailed a complaint and with no further fuss I had the product delivered along with a full refund to apologise (they have now kept me as a customer)
After a long tiring drive to stay at a hotel, upon arrival the lady at the desk said she had heard there were long delays on the motorway. She said she thought we would be tired so had gone to our room to draw the curtains and turn on the lamps so we could have a lie-down and a rest. A small but hugely appreciated touch.
Bad customer service
I paid next day delivery for an item which didn’t arrive. I contacted the company to find out what had happened. There was no apology but just a barrage of excuses that drivers get tired and sometimes deliver to the wrong address, can’t find properties in rural locations etc. Yes, they said they would investigate where the item was but no refund on delivery cost and didn’t seem to care. They have lost a long-standing customer.
At the same hotel mentioned above, upon coming downstairs in the morning, my husband and I both said good morning to the new lady on the desk, but she couldn’t be bothered to lift her head and smile. She only just muttered ‘morning’ whilst continuing to look at her mobile! This made us feel rather unwelcome.
I emailed to book an appointment with a health and beauty therapist, gave her the dates I was available, and she simply said: “no, can’t do those” in her reply. No other dates suggested, no saying ‘unfortunately I’m booked up’ or ‘I’m so sorry I can’t fit you in’. The message was so short and snappy I won’t be going to her again.
I purchased a product on an ongoing subscription. It was something new and I was a little nervous about trying it as the retailer knew. After my first purchase, the only time I heard from the retailer was to let me know my next month’s payment was due. There was nothing wrong with the product, but I didn’t feel valued as a customer, or that they cared if I was getting on with the product of not, but that they were only interested in getting money out of me. Their direct competitor has been in contact more than them and so I am now in the process of switching.
Does any of this resonate with you either as a seller or a
If you receive either good or bad customer service, take note of it. If you receive bad customer service, are you guilty of this also? Be honest with yourself. If you receive good customer service, do you do this with your business or could you incorporate it in some way?
I’d love to hear any stories of your own that you may have so let me know in the comments below.
How dare a customer actually try to buy from you!!
Recently in an online group, a lady was complaining that she had contacted a number of small businesses and yet they hadn’t responded. I can totally sympathise with this lady as I regularly get the same treatment.
Whilst a few agreed with her, there were far more comments from those that owned small businesses and went on the attack.
“When I’m contacted people don’t bear in mind I work over 40 hours, I can’t be on my phone all the time”
“I have a family, and a home to look after, and they come first!
I don’t always have the information to hand, like when I’m on the school run or swimming lessons and usually I’m too busy getting tea ready to respond to messages when I get home.”
“I’m behind on our emails but that’s because I’m so busy”
“I’ve got too much work to do to reply straight away, … oh and I also have a life! I can’t stand the beck and call attitude of some customers.”
“I haven’t had a day off in weeks”
Do you feel like this?
Yes, we can all get frustrated by our clients at times but women with the attitude of these don’t deserve a business in my opinion.
After all, there are plenty of people out there desperate to have more customers contact them. These women are obviously irritated. How dare someone interrupt their life to try and place an order.
Running a home and a business whilst raising a family is difficult, but customers aren’t telepathic. They don’t know how busy you are and to be honest, why should they care. They have their money in their hand and they want to buy something.
If you’re too busy, they will just move on somewhere else, or perhaps not.
Perhaps if the customer was treated with a little common courtesy they may wait until you are less busy. A simple holding email letting them know when you will be able to respond firstly acknowledges their enquiry, and secondly sets their expectations for when they will be responded to in full.
If you are running around like a headless chicken with a ‘woe is me’ attitude, sort yourself out. Take a look at your business from a customer’s point of view. Get in the right mindset of a successful business owner and change your attitude. Streamline your business. Cut the crap and work on effective systems. Set expectations with customers through your website and autoresponders in busy periods.
Remember, the customer is in control of your business success, not you. He can fire you by simply taking his business elsewhere.
I can hear the keyboards tapping away already, so go on, use the comments box and let me know your thoughts.
Do you regularly get asked the same questions over and over again? Set up an FAQ page on your website with answers to the most frequently asked questions and then direct incoming inquiries to this. It will save you a lot of time and effort.
Questions will differ from business to business depending on what your customers or clients ask you.
If you have a bricks-and-mortar shop it may that you need to give directions to your shop or let customers know where the nearest parking is and what it costs. If you have an online business it may be that you need to let clients know about your working hours, the best way to contact you and how to make a booking or cancel an appointment.
To help you get the most out of your FAQ page, use the three top tips below.
Prioritise your Q&A’s
You could end up with quite a long list so may sure you prioritise your questions with the most common ones at the top. If the list really is getting out of hand, think about putting questions into sections. A section on location could give both the directions and parking information. A ‘working together’ section could include questions on working hours, terms, and conditions, booking, cancelling etc.
When you are giving the answers to the questions listed, make sure you reiterate key benefits to the reader rather than just cold, boring facts. This FAQ section can be a great selling tool where you really overcome any objections a prospect has so make the most of it.
Keep answers short and sweet
Remember to keep your answers short, sweet and to the point. You don’t want to go off on a ramble that leaves the poor reader more confused than when they started. Try and keep answers to just one or two sentences where possible.
Consider using video for answers that need a more in-depth explanation. Again, keep it as short and sweet as possible but it can be easier to get a point across clearly in a video than trying to explain it in text.
Keep answers updated
Do make sure you diarise to keep your information updated on a regular basis. You don’t want visitors rocking up to your shop if the nearest car park listed on your site has closed! Yes, it happens!
It can also be a good idea to include a form at the bottom for readers to ask a question that is not listed and if you are sitting at your laptop frequently, think about having a live chat box to answer questions in real-time.
Do you have an FAQ page on your site already? How about sharing to give us all inspiration? Pop the link in the comments box below.
Do you ever have clients placing an order for your products or services only to cancel a while later? There may be a very good reason why.
Yes, that simple act of keeping in touch and letting them know what is happening behind the scenes can make the difference between a happy customer and one who gets fed up thinking they have been forgotten and decides to take their business elsewhere.
There is no better example of this than when I ran my estate agents. Other agents were getting complaints and clients cancelling all the time to switch and coming to me. My clients stayed with me and the business was built on word-of-mouth recommendations.
Because I kept in touch. I put myself in their shoes and kept in mind how they might be feeling. Whilst my team were busy behind the scenes calling people about their property to book viewings and chasing surveyors and solicitors when a sale was agreed, the homeowner had no idea this was going on. All they had from other agents was silence. I made sure that every one of my clients had a call to update them every single week, even if there was nothing new to say. It made them feel important. They knew exactly what was going on and appreciated the call.
Yes, it took time and effort but the fact that my estate agency soared whilst others were struggling spoke volumes.
The key to stopping clients from cancelling
Take a moment to think about how often you keep in contact with your clients. Are you busy working behind the scenes on their behalf putting together their order or working on a project for them? Do they know this? Are you updating them? If not, then perhaps it’s time to think again about your communication policy. Set up a simple database such as CapsuleCRM to keep in contact with everyone and see how much they appreciate it. This simple step really could be the key to stopping your clients from cancelling and going elsewhere.
Just to finish, here are two current examples. Just this morning I cancelled an order with a local company for having a sign made as they simply have not kept in contact with me and not sent information to me as promised. I have chased them no less than three times and yet they have still failed to keep in contact, and I am now fed up. I have now contacted another company and transferred my order to them.
The other example is my husband’s laptop which stopped working whilst under guarantee. We took it back to the shop where it was purchased and they promised to fix it asap. That was six weeks ago!!! My husband has called on a number of occasions to get updates and then called again this morning. They said it was fixed and had been posted back. If this company had kept us updated and even let us know it was fixed and on the way back, we may have bought from them again. As they couldn’t be bothered to keep in touch, we have both said we will never buy from them again (and will tell others not to!)
Communication is key
Remember, whatever you do, don’t forget communication is key. If you don’t keep in contact with your prospects and clients, don’t be surprised when they go and buy elsewhere.
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