“Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” Lisa Masiello
To some degree, customer experiences and customer service strategies depend on what you’re selling (e.g. goods versus services), who you’re selling it to (e.g. B2B versus B2C), and where you’re selling it (brick and mortar versus online).
That said, there are a few basic principles that apply to every business:
Principle #1: Build trust first.
Don’t attack perspective customers with your “pitch” before you know them (or they know you). It’s unsettling!
In face-to-face situations, a lot of this is about body language, personal space, etc. No one enjoys a “pushy” salesperson experience. Or being trapped at an event with someone who’s aggressively “working the room”. Even if you’re mildly interested in what they’re selling, your natural inclination is to try and escape.
The online equivalent is a website polluted with pop ups – especially when they appear immediately and scream at you to hand over an email address. It’s too much, too soon. And it makes the whole website feel a little… SHADY.
Whether you’re selling offline or online, always lead with warm greetings and some form of social proof. Press pause on “selling” until you’ve built trust.
Principle #2: Don’t oversell.
Above all, be honest about what you provide. Let the strengths of your goods or services stand on their own merit.
It’s great to be confident and believe in what you are selling. But when you make unrealistic promises, you’re destined to disappoint.
And disappointed customers don’t just avoid you in the future. They TELL OTHER PEOPLE about their experience.
Negative word-of-mouth gets out of hand quickly. This is especially true today, when everyone from school kids to their grandparents has a social media following!
Principle #3: Keep it as simple as possible.
No one minds making a few choices, but there’s a point where decision-making becomes exhausting.
Have you ever been to a restaurant where the menu is too big? A clothing store where the racks are over-stuffed? A website with a zillion pages?
Even if the offerings are great, the experience is disconcerting.
Whenever possible, prioritize simplicity! Make sure the perspective client feels confident and isn’t distracted or confused in any way.
Remember that it’s your job to make the journey from prospect to client smooth and relaxing.
Principle #4: Be polite and personable.
No matter how great your deliverable is, if the personal interactions are lack-lustre, you’ve failed.
Even if you make the sale, you’ve failed, because that person is NOT coming back. And they’re NOT sending other people your way.
In case you think this doesn’t apply to online sales… think again.
You can definitely demonstrate politeness – and impoliteness – online. For instance, simple things like adding “please” and “thank you” (where appropriate) are important. Clear, reasonable order and return policies are also respectful. And helpful customer support options are both polite and a great way to build trust.
To learn more about how to create personable, appealing content, check out “7 Simple Word Tricks to Capture Attention and Keep Readers Engaged.”
Principle #5: Always follow up.
Your follow-up doesn’t need to be lengthy or complicated. In fact, in keeping with Principle #3, you should keep it as simple as possible. Personally, I don’t have time in my day to complete in-depth customer surveys. And I suspect that others feel the same.
That said, a quick, personalized follow up is ALWAYS appropriate. It’s a great opportunity to gather a bit of feedback and a positive testimonial. And it extends your relationship, which improves the odds for referrals and repeat business!
When you finish this article, you may want to check out Hubspot’s 16 Templates For The Sales Follow Up Email.
Conclusion: It’s Easy To Make (And Keep) Happy Customers
Technologies change. Markets evolve. World events crash into things now and again. But at the end of the day, there are simple principles that continue to hold true. So stick with the basics. They’re easy to remember – and they create happy customers:
- Follow Up
Remember that regardless of what you are selling, who you are selling it to, or where you are selling it, repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth is rocket fuel!