Thursday, March 17, 2011

How To Gain Paying Clientele And Then Lose Their Business

By Harrison Booker

So you have decided to setup your own business. By far the simplest process was setting up the company formations. You have a cool company name, nice looking website - a great brand. Well done, you have done the easy part of UK company formations. Now come the difficult aspects of running your own business. You need customers in their droves willing to part with their hard earned cash. After you have sourced the customers, an even harder task faces you. Now is time to keep hold of them. Successful businesses have a high customer retention rate. The last thing you want is to lose your client base to your competitors because your product or service isn't up to scratch. So how do you avoid losing customers in this way? There are many different ways of doing so, but just a few main reasons. Here they are.

It really gets me when a company makes a promise to do something, and then doesn't. How about a real life example, which just happened to me? On the whole, the company hasn't done a great deal wrong. Fortunately when I don't have Internet, I see it as a hint that I should be socialising a bit more! On the flip side, some customers will erupt at the slightest piece of bad service.

I am writing right now because I have no Internet connection. It's my fault because I lost my login information, not my provider's. I called the company yesterday to confirm the details. Unfortunately the portal that hosts the details was unavailable, but they would get back to me within an hour with the information I needed. I was mildly impressed they were making the time to retrieve the details manually for me. They did exactly that- better still they called back within ten minutes (see exceeding expectations below!). Unfortunately I wrote the details down on a piece of paper which a family member decided to bin, so I had to call back again right now. So I called again and as before, I was told I'd be called back in fifteen minutes. After an hour, I chased them only to be given the same line. I was annoyed because I had been told fifteen minutes, and thus expected fifteen minutes. The lesson to be had here- if you tell your customer you are going to do something, make sure you do it. If the situation changes, all you have to do is contact them and explain. If the company had rung me back as promised after fifteen minutes to inform me there was still a problem, but I would get an update in 4 hours, I'd have gone off and written some more about customer service. I actually ended up getting very irritated with them as they repeated the excuse a further two times.

This shows us how important it is to set realistic expectations. If the company had informed me apologetically I'd have to wait a day, I'd have been fine. If they had then fixed the problem quicker than that, I'd have been happy. For the want of a better example, this is why McDonalds are so incredibly successful. When you buy a Big Mac, you know exactly what you are getting. Everything is covered in the McDonalds handbook, from how to cook the burger to how much lettuce to add. It's very hard to go wrong this way. Not like when you eat out in a restaurant and are wowed by the food, only the next time you visit, you experience a different chef and different food. Try and set reasonable expectations and then beat them. Next fall below expectations.

On the flip side (no burger pun intended) a final word of warning is that you cannot please everyone. Some customers enjoy causing trouble. These people go through life inflicting pain on customer service! I can tell you having run companies with fantastic and not so great customer service, you cannot help everyone. There will be times when customers will take up all your time moaning about something self-inflicted that simply does not tie in with the service or product you offer. Don't waste your time on the problematic ones- follow the advice above and put a smile on the face of the customers that deserve it.

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