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Good customer service is all about customer retention - that’s one of the great tried-and-true maxims of business. Discounts and price slashing sound great and customers appreciate saving money, but it’s of little use if a customer has a lousy experience doing business with you. Always bear in mind the value of word of mouth and the fact that a disgruntled customer is a lot more likely to criticize than a happy client is to pass along something positive. And while the customer may not always be right, they think they are, and that’s what matters. If your staff is making things convenient and pleasant for your customers, in most cases, you can expect that they’ll come back for more.

Tweak Your Marketing Plan

A good marketing plan consists of a set of goals that work toward achieving and maintaining high customer traffic. A goal-setting technique that’s applicable to all areas of life is known as SMART—in other words, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-limited. When it comes to developing marketing tactics for improving customer service, make sure these tactics contain specific goals that can be tracked, can actually be achieved, are relevant to your business and have set deadlines.

Wow 'Em With Your Website

For many people, the internet is the true business landscape. It’s the marketplace where people go for information, to comparison shop, and make purchases. That’s why an appealing, informative, easy-to-navigate and mobile-friendly website is so important. It’s especially the case with eCommerce business owners, for whom a website exists as a storefront and a living, evolving source of marketing. It’s no accident that most customers are less apt to return to your online business if your website is unattractive, slow-loading or hard to figure out.

Train Your Staff To Be Customer-Centric

Your employees, from the receptionist to sales force and customer service staff, are your front line, so it’s vital they understand what you expect of them and how to make a lasting customer service impression. Above all, your employees should strive to be courteous. It won’t do much good to be knowledgeable if they manage to anger or set a customer on edge. During staff meetings, ask if anyone has an example of a positive and/or difficult customer service situation and how they handled it, and do some role playing. It’s important to practice the essentials of good customer service, not just reinforce them through occasional reminders.

Don't Forget The Extras

If you’re serious about pleasing busy customers, find a way to provide a “freebie” now and then. Customers love the satisfaction of knowing they got something for nothing. It gives them a feeling of control, a positive impression they’ll associate with your business. Make sure first-time customers receive a special new-customer discount, or a two-for-one deal along with free shipping (always a bonus with online customers who can go elsewhere).

Show Them Don't Tell Them

How far does good customer service extend? If a customer asks where to find an item on your website, is it good customer service to rattle off a URL and a page heading, and leave it at that? Remember, people notice when you’re willing to go the extra mile. The better approach would be to have the customer join you online and walk them through your site until they’ve found what they need. It just takes a little extra effort and patience, but it will pay off in the long run.

Companies that consistently set SMART goals and follow good customer service practices, courtesy, helpfulness and customer satisfaction become second nature. That means you can expect them to come back for more. Think back to any negative customer service experience you’ve had to understand just how important it is to treat your clientele as the valuable resources they are.