You Inc. Commandment #9- Honor Thy Customer

This is one of the most important commandments, so take note!

As you know (or will soon come to know if you’re a beginner), if you want to make more money in your business, you need to sell more stuff to your current customers.

Why?

Well, it takes far more effort and expense to turn a visitor to your website into a customer than it does to simply sell more stuff to current customers who have already thought highly enough of you to give you their hard-earned money.

Something that a friend and internet marketing expert, Jim Yaghi told me a while ago, has stuck with respect to how I view our customers.  Here’s what he said…

Imagine that you are musician playing your instrument on a street corner.

Hours and hundreds of people pass by you without ever stopping.

Finally one person stops to listen to your music and puts some money into your hat.

Who do you play for?

The person who was interested enough to stop and listen to you and give you a tip, or the hundreds of passersby who haven’t paid any attention to you?

Then, before long, another couple of people join the first person.   They also drop money into your hat.

Who are you playing for?

The answer should be obvious…

You should play for the people who stopped by and thought enough of what you’re offering to stop, listen and give you a few bucks.

Ask them for song requests….that’ll encourage them to stay for awhile and maybe even give you more money!

Here are 7 Ways You Can Honor Thy Customer:

1. Always over-deliver.

You always want to exceed your customer’s expectations.  If you do, they’ll be far more likely to purchase from you in the future.

If a customer has trouble accessing their purchase or you aren’t able to deliver what was promised ALWAYS do your best to remedy the situation promptly and consider giving your customer a little something extra for the hassle.  They’ll appreciate it!

2.  Give Your Client the VIP Treatment

Customers love to receive the royal carpet treatment.  Give it to them! Offer “customer” specials.  If you’re about to launch a new product, give them an early-bird special price, or just early access to purchase your product. You could also send them a gift certificate with a discount code that they can use to purchase another product as a discount.

3.  Be accessible to your customers.

This can be via a support ticket system, email, telephone number, etc.  If your customer cannot reach you if they have an issue with their purchase, they’ll get mad. A mad customer can do a tremendous amount of damage to your brand and reputation.  Especially online.

4. Promptly respond to customer support requests. 

Just the other day, our internet was down.  I had a TON of work to do, and I was completely annoyed.  So, I called the cable provider’s phone number, jumped through all of the hoops of “Press 1 for this, Press 3 for that” and finally got a message that said that there was an outage reported in my area, and to Press 4 to speak with a customer service representative about the outage.  I pressed 4, and promptly got a busy dial tone.

I was furious!

Then, I went to their website to see if they had posted any information about the outage or estimated time to resolve the issue.  Found nothing.

Went onto Twitter to see if they had an update.  Found nothing.

When to their Facebook page, only to find a boatload of unanswered comments from angry customers who had experienced the same frustrations I had.

WOW!

Really, really bad customer service experience.  In fact, when our contract is up, we’ll be moving to a new provider.

I would’ve been satisfied if someone had just answered my call and pretended to be concerned.  I got nothing, so I’m one very unhappy customer.

Don’t make the mistake Cable One did!

(Side Note: These poor, uninformed folks at Cable One have no clue that their Facebook Page is totally damaging their brand.  When potential customers are looking at their Facebook page they are going to see a lot of unhappy customers and a company that doesn’t care.  Not a very sound marketing strategy.)

5.  Have a clear refund policy in place.

If you are selling your own product online, you must have a clear refund policy in place.  Tell your customers:

-       The time limit to request a refund. (i.e, a 30 days)

-       How to contact you to request the refund (email address, mailing address, phone #).

-       Any additional terms or restrictions on your refund

-       Expected processing times for the refund

-       What form will the refund take (check, same as the original form of payment)

A refund policy is worthless if your potential customers/customers don’t know about it.  So, always let them know about that policy and make it easily accessible.

6.  Always HONOR your refund policy.

Promptly refund your customer’s money when requested (if they asked for the refund in accordance with your refund policy).

You never know what circumstances dictated their request, and even though your customer requested a refund, they’ll have a pleasant memory of their business dealings with you, as opposed to a negative one. They may very well purchase from you again in the future.

PLUS, your failure to promptly issue a refund can cause issues with your merchant accounts.  If you don’t promptly refund your customer’s request (assuming they request the refund in accordance with the terms of your Refund Policy), and they complain to their bank/credit card company, you’ll get a “charge-back”.

Charge-backs can hurt your reputation with your merchant account provider, leading to higher fees or even suspension of your account. That’s really bad!

7.  Stay In Touch With Your Customers. 

You should consider sending them holiday cards, ask for their feedback, send them surveys to see how you can better serve their needs in the future, just as a few suggestions.

I’ve found that customers really love getting something in the mail from you.  So if someone purchases your product, consider sending them a “thank you” letter via Snail Mail.  It gives your clients the much needed offline contact to show them that you are, in fact, a real person!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how to treat your clients in order to ensure you’re able to get the most money possible out of your existing customer list. In the Beginner’s Guide to Building You, Inc. (brought to you by The Savvy Entrepreneur(tm), I’ll be teaching more in depth strategies, so make sure to get on the Early Bird Notification List.

Like this article? Share your comments below! If you think someone can benefit from this information, please share it!

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28 Responses to “You Inc. Commandment #9- Honor Thy Customer”

  1. Jupiter Jim Says:

    Natasha,

    Absolutely great post. The information is simple. It is straightforward. It is so basic but SO MANY businesses, large and small, just don’t get it. The most important thing that every business should do are your steps, #1, #3 and #4. And step #4 is kind of a sub-category of Step #3 which is be accessible to your clients. I don’t like answering the phones and my clients know that, but they know that I am constantly checking and answering my emails throughout the day, and if they really need to talk to me they just need to tell me to call them in an email or a text to me and I’ll get back ASAP. Most questions can be answered by email, so that’s what I prefer. The VIP treatment is something I have experienced but never thought of implementing in my own business until I read this post. So thanks for that tip as well!

    Sincerely,

    Jupiter Jim
    Jupiter Jim recently posted..Quick, Easy way to Create “placeholder” images for WordPress and Thesis Theme Sites and Blogs

  2. Sharon Johnson Says:

    Hello Natasha
    Thank You for the great tips, Just think do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I hate bed customer support.
    Thanks Again
    Sharon
    Merry Christmas and Best in the New Year
    Sharon
    Sharon Johnson recently posted..Starting Over On Internet Marketing

  3. marquita herald Says:

    Great advice Natasha. I think we all of favorite customer service stories … the good, the bad and definitely the ugly. The thing the “bad” companies don’t get is that when you’re there for your customer, they will be loyal like all get out to you. For example, I experienced some challenges last month with my blog – finally got it all fixed, but it wasn’t the “experts” who fixed it, it was my website hosting company. And it wasn’t even their job! One of their cs staff sat with me on the phone for the longest time and patiently walked me through all the possibilities until we figured it out – now THAT is customer service worth bragging about!
    marquita herald recently posted..What Do ‘Successful’ People Do Differently Than the Rest of Us?

  4. Nile Says:

    Honoring the customer is definitely important, but I always say that the customer is not always right… especially after my days in high school and college working fast food. People would try anything to get free food when they looked like there were not strapped for cash. That and treating minimum wage workers who jumped through hoops for them, like trash.

    For smaller businesses, a VOIP plan or Skype might be an alternative to giving out phone numbers. I had to change my phone number and make my clients contact me via Skype because they were abusing my work hours, even calling me early in the morning. So… be accessible, and as I learned… clear on where and hours of operation to be reached.
    Nile recently posted..Thoughts On Autoblogging Software for WordPress

  5. John Gaydon Says:

    Hi Natasha,

    This is a great list of ideas on a most important subject.

    I am seriously looking at sending snail mail to my clients right now, so this is timely for me.

    A great reminder of what is important to keep customers. I agree it si easier to keep your customers than go find new ones.
    John Gaydon recently posted..How To Reach The Top In MLM

  6. Mandy Swift - Your Online Marketing "Personal Trainer" Says:

    Love the post Natasha, and the analogy you gave of the busker on the street corner. I can’t remember the exact stats but it is something like ‘it is 150% easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to a new one’. And love the last tip about sending someone a real handwritten card. In today’s world of super fast text and email, to know that someone actually cared about you enough to give you a chunk of their most valuable commodity – their time – really does go a long way.
    Great post, thanks :)
    Mandy Swift – Your Online Marketing “Personal Trainer” recently posted..What To Say & What NEVER Say On Video (if you want results)

  7. Melodie Kantner Says:

    You have listed several good points on customer service. We all need the reminders from time to time.
    Melodie Kantner recently posted..Reflecting On and Celebrating The Successes Of The Past Year and Setting Goals

  8. Willena Flewelling Says:

    I love your illustration of the musician and who he’s playing for! It’s perfect.

    This is a great list. It should be common sense, but it isn’t. We often forget that our customers/clients are real people like us, and appreciate being treated that way.

    Willena Flewelling
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..Remembering James G Flewelling

  9. Andy Nathan Says:

    Great illustration of how you can build your business without constantly having to reinvent yourself to new clients.
    Andy Nathan recently posted..New Google Analytics

  10. Kevin DeRoo Says:

    Hey Natasha,

    Great article Natasha, I couldn’t agree with you more! This is indeed one of the most important “commandments.” Always over deliver in your product or service, make your yourself available to your customers, and issuing refunds in a prompt and professional manner will go a long way in keeping your customers happy and coming back to you in the future.

    Thanks so much for sharing Natasha,

    Kevin
    Kevin DeRoo recently posted..The End Of The World

  11. Lynda Cromar Says:

    Great list of tips on honoring the customer! I am loving these! I had a similar experience with a cable company hmmm is that common?

    Anyway I actually want to site a positive experience I had just today! I have an aweber account and I got a bill for over 3,000 new subscribers. Now of course if that actually happened I would be ecstatic but actually it was not true, it was over 3,000 spam-bot subscribes, and unsubscribes.

    So upon getting that bill, I said I am not sure what it was, and that it appeared to be a mistake. Actually within the hour, not only did I get an e-mail but I got a personal phone call from a rep saying upon investigation they found that it was caused by a spam-bot and they were all undeliverable. So because I had used my form correctly I would get a complete refund. She was courteous and efficient, and I came away with a smile on my face, feeling glad I had choose her company. And you bet I will recommend it to others.
    Lynda Cromar recently posted..How And Why You Need To Use A Journal For Business It Is An Ingredient Of Success

  12. Coach James @ Mastermind to Personal Power Says:

    Wonderful Wonderful Post on often overlooked and forgotten art of Customer Service. (Especially on the internet).

    Great tips and Writing, Natasha. Love your blog and your message.

    Please keep it up!

    Best,
    James
    Coach James @ Mastermind to Personal Power recently posted..6 Enlightening Principles You Will Discover in the Brilliant Compensation Movie

  13. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Jupiter Jim, Glad you enjoyed it, Jim! I love providing the VIP treatment for my customers, it’s fun and I know they love it! ; )
    Natasha Nassar recently posted..Living a Purpose Driven Life

  14. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Sharon Johnson, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too Sharon!

    You’re right- Customer Service is all about the “Golden Rule” : )

  15. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @marquita herald, I love hearing good customer service stories Marquita! Wanna share the name of the hosting company?!? ; )

  16. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Nile, Ahhhh, Nile you bring up a great point- BAD customers! Yes, there are always a few bad apples that try to take advantage of the situation….

    Great types of VOIP or Skype. Also some plans allow you to just send all calls to voice mail so you can screen your calls.

  17. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @John Gaydon, Glad you found it helpful, John! : )

  18. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Mandy Swift – Your Online Marketing “Personal Trainer”, Hmmmm…..a “busker”- I like that!

    I remember when Ann Sieg sent me a book and a handwritten note for being a top affiliate years ago. I STILL haven’t forgotten it. I thought it was SO cool to have gotten something “offline” from an online marketer! : )

  19. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Melodie Kantner, Thanks Melodie! Can never be reminded about this stuff too much : )

  20. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Willena Flewelling, I wish I could take credit for that analogy, but it was my friend, Jim Yaghi! : )

  21. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Andy Nathan, Glad you enjoyed it! Make sure to check out the rest of the Commandments! : )

  22. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Kevin DeRoo, My pleasure! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your take-aways from the article!

  23. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Lynda Cromar, That’s awesome, Lynda! Like I told another reader, I LOVE hearing good customer service stories. I love Aweber too and it’s good to know that they were so quick to fix the issue.

    I remember seeing on Trip Advisor a few months back, a Hotel Manager that took the time to comment on each visitors’ review- good or bad. If the review was bad, they obviously went out of their way to make sure the person was satisfied. Needless to say, THAT”S somewhere I want to stay…. shows they care about their guests!

  24. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Coach James @ Mastermind to Personal Power, Will do! Thanks so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it! : )

  25. Roger Reed Says:

    Hey Natasha! I highly appreciate this post. It’s good that you reminded us all that we are not just in the hunt for dollars but to cater to the ones who already invested in us for accordingly equal value in return. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future!
    Roger Reed recently posted..MKG Lessons From A Male Escort Movie

  26. Natasha Nassar Says:

    @Roger Reed, thanks for stopping by! On my way to typing up the final Commandment for building You, Inc.! Gotta keep the content coming ; )

    Happy New Year!
    Natasha Nassar recently posted..Welcome to Our New Site!

  27. clare@optimalcellhealth Says:

    Hi Natasha,

    Customer satisfaction has been an important part of my life for several decades. As an entrepreneur running serial businesses on different continents, I have learned that business is the same no matter where you operate. Give more than you expect back, and you are on your way to success. Sometimes we put so much effort into building our businesses and acquiring the client, that we forget about making them feel wanted when they arrive! I believe passion is a key factor to success in business and if you are passionate about what you do, you care deeply about how your customers feel. Business is both a left brained activity and a right brained intuitive activity. Being able to balance both sides of business is, in my opinion the driving force to on-going success.

    We all have weaknesses and mine is absolutely your last point – keeping in touch with your customers. I have a great card service I use and yet, I don’t get to send them even though I can push a button from my PC! Thanks for this reminder – time to be much more diligent about this in 2012!

    Kind regards,
    Clare
    clare@optimalcellhealth recently posted..What exactly is Holistic Health and why should you care?

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