Focus on what’s most important to your customers and enjoy the repeat business.
Whether you own a service-based business, restaurant or retail store, understanding customer needs and wants is the key to repeat business. But don’t assume you know what customers want. Depending on your business type, customers will place more importance on different aspects of customer service. Make sure you understand the differences in good customer service for these different sectors.
What Customers Expect in a Restaurant
Restaurants should be relaxed, comfortable and friendly places where customers can enjoy a good meal and feel welcome. Discuss these important customer service behaviors and give your staff the following instructions:
- Greet all visitors at the door with a smile.
- Try to bring up something memorable about a repeat customer’s previous visit.
- Ask diners where they’d like to sit before escorting them to a table. Arrange for their preferences or come up with a good alternative that customers agree to.
- Take drink orders promptly and let customers know you are available to answer questions about the menu or specials.
- Know the what’s on the menu, how the food is prepared and what ingredients the meals contain to make answering customer questions fast and easy.
- Don’t interrupt patrons or ignore them in favor of another customer. Strike a balance of good service by paying attention to your tables and look for signs that customers need you.
What Customers Expect in a Retail Store
Shoppers will respond to well if you approach them the right way. Find a balance of salesmanship and giving shoppers the space they want by giving your retail associates these instructions:
- Greet customers with a smile and a hello when they enter the store.
- Ask them if you can help. If not, let them know you are available if they have questions.
- If a customer says, “I’m just browsing,” let them do that. Make yourself available from a distance, since the customer come up with questions while browsing.
- Keep the shelves neat and well stocked. Customers want a clean shopping experience in which the products they want are available for purchase. If you run out of a sale item, offer a rain check.
- When problems arise at the register, call other associates for help. Don’t leave customers waiting in line behind a troubled checkout.
- Don’t forget the thank customers for coming.
What Customers Expect From a Service Based Business
If you’re in a service industry, you know how hectic the day can get when you have multiple projects and clients while fielding questions and pitching to potential new customers. Give your employees these instructions to help them manage the chaos while keeping customers happy.
- In service-based businesses, what customers want most is for you to listen to them. Listen carefully and repeat back your understanding of the conversation. Put all orders in writing before beginning and have the customer sign off to be sure you agree on what is needed.
- You are there to solve the customer’s problem. That means you should consider all options and offer those most advantageous to the customer.
- While the customer certainly isn’t right all the time, you should never say you disagree. Instead, acknowledge the request and suggest an alternative solution. Explain why your solution works better. If it’s just a matter of personal preference, go with the customer’s request.
- Don’t forget that customers hate waiting on hold. Instead of leaving them in limbo, ask for the best number to reach them and promise a call back. Be sure to call back within the time frame you promised.
- Never promise a due date you can’t keep. Instead, build time into your due dates that allow for potential delays. If the job is done earlier, the customer will be that much more pleased.
- When unexpected delays arise, take responsibility and lay out a plan for overcoming the delays. Customers understand so long as they are not kept in the dark about the status.
By following these guidelines, you’ll have an easier time keeping customers happy. And customers will have a better time at your store, making them likely to come back again.