Tag Archives: Customer Management

7 Simple (and Cost-Effective) Ways to Show Customer Appreciation

The best way to ensure repeat customers is to make sure the customers know you appreciate them. However, finding out whether the customers know this or not can be difficult. Sometimes they’ll let you know, sometimes they won’t.   cust apprec

Customer review sites make this easy; for instance, you can read real customer reviews on OpenTell.com, but even then there might not be enough information for you to gauge how they feel. Here are seven easy, and most importantly, cost effective ways of showing customer appreciation.

1. Personalize your service to them.

If you can, show a bit of personalization in the service you provide them. Leave a few kind words, or use their name on something. It doesn’t take much, and a little personalization goes a long way.

2. Check in with new customers. 

Send customers a report of your service, or give them a call after they buy a product and ask how it’s working. It doesn’t take long – you could even assign the task to a subordinate – but the simple gesture lets the customers know they are respected.

3. Create a ‘wall of honor’ of your best customers.

Many restaurants do this. Including photographs of your regulars on the walls makes the place feel more personable, and goes a long way towards building loyalty.

4. Give special treatment to long time customers.

Maybe on their birthday or on a special occasion, give your best customers a one-time deal or discount of some sort. Make sure it’s understood to be a single deal, but this will help build a relationship with your customers.

5. Remember their names.

This goes a long way. You see hundreds if not thousands of people each day, but by remembering the names of as many people as you can, you inspire fierce brand loyalty. Names hold power.

6. Ask for feedback.

Ask your customers how their experience was, and ask if there is any way you can improve it for next time. Most of the time the customers will be too surprised to answer, but this can be a great way of getting first-hand feedback.

7. Go out of your way to provide amazing customer service.

Don’t let rules and policies stop you. Bend them just a tad if the situation calls for it, and make sure you provide absolutely legendary service for a customer if they need it.

Following these seven simple steps will inspire customer loyalty and show your appreciation for them in ways they’ve never before experienced.



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Giving Away Some Products Can Gain You Much

When it comes to running your own business, whether it is direct selling or not, it can be scary.  Your income is not guaranteed and you are careful about spending your earnings so that it will go further.   But when you are approached to donate or give away a product, it can send your heart into palpations due to the lost revenue.  Fear not, there are many valid and good reasons for giving something away.

Lucky Door Prizes

Lucky Door Prizes (Photo credit: Mosman Library)

Cheap Advertising

By giving something away, you are getting your name out there.  Chances are your name is going to be mentioned at least half a dozen times.  Make sure you give them many business cards to put out with your item so that if people are interested in purchasing one if they don’t win, that they can contact you.

New Customer

If the person who wins your product is not familiar with what you sell, they will be now.  Hopefully they use it and are able to tell people about how they like it and then they will buy more.  Even if they do not like it, they may know people that would and will make sure to inform them.

Customer Conversion

You may have a customer that is on the fence about your product.  Maybe they have heard about it and want to try it but are not willing to spend the money.  If they have a chance to try it, it may be enough to push them over the edge to make the purchase.

Potential Customers

If you are doing a door prize, people are going to enter.  People see free and they want it. On your entry slip, you want to make sure to get a phone number and an email address.   You can then add them to your email list and hopefully convert them to customers.  By letting people know you are giving something away, they are more likely to stop at your table and check things out.

An item for giveaway does not have to be expensive.  It could be something that you won from your company, a discontinued product or something that you ordered for demonstration.   The business you gain should offset the cost and you will be ahead in the long run.

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How to handle the “I can buy at a discount store for less” customer?

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When it comes right down to it, yes, the person can buy the same product at a discount store as they can buy through a direct sales consultant.  But, there are benefits to purchasing through a direct sales person as opposed to the store.

Customer service is huge! Make sure you are there for your customers.  Check to see how the product is working for them and if they need anything else in regards to information on using the product.

Knowledge – You can help your customer pick out the product that is exactly right for them.  At the discount stores, they are lucky to find someone to help them checkout.  Not only that, but you can help the customer with knowledge about how to use the product.

Free product – How many discount stores are going to give you discounted/free product when you get a few people together to shop?  Personally, I don’t know any, do you?

Quality – Quite often, the products that you buy through direct sales are better quality than those that you buy at the discount store.   Yes, they may cost more, but they are worth it for what you get.

Selection – Ever gone to the discount store and they are out of what you want?  That doesn’t happen when you order from the direct sales consultant as they bring the product that you specifically want in just for you.

Getting together – A big reason that people host direct sales events are to get together with friends and families.  They get to visit, do a bit of shopping, and just relax.  How many discount stores do you know that encourage you to come in with a group of friends and then let you sit back while they show you items available for purchase?

Of course, there are benefits that the discount stores have over the direct sales consultant, but if you are prepared, you will be ready to mention them.

Get product right there – You can fight this one by mentioning how if they buy from you, they know they will get exactly what they want and that it is fresh product and it has not been sitting on a shelf for months.  Offer to deliver right to their door so that they do not need to go out to get their product.

Cost – Remind them the quality that they are getting from the direct sales consultant versus the discount store.

Assistance – If they forget how something works, chances are if they try calling up the discount store, they are going to get laughed at for asking for assistance.  But they can call their direct sales consultant who will be more than happy to explain and offer some tips.

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What is a customer satisfaction call?

A satisfaction call is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a call to see if the customer is satisfied with their product.  Do not use this as a sales pitch!

“Hi Jane, its Sharon calling with XYZ company.  I was just calling to see how that widget that you bought at Tammy’s party is working out for you”

“No problems?  That’s great!  I won’t take any more of your time but just wanted to make sure you were 100% satisfied.  Thanks!”

“Oohh.. I’m sorry to hear that A isn’t working properly for you.  Did you try H and I to get it going properly?  Did you take care of it by doing J?” Offer suggestions or tips as to how to improve their results.

If the product still is not working after making suggestions, you may have to consider exchanging the product or giving them a refund.  How you handle the issue will likely be partially determined by what your company policy is as well as what you personally feel you should do.

It is always a good idea to go view the product before making an offer to replace something as sometimes it is as simple as turning an item a specific way or something is not lined up correctly.

Nothing says you have to replace or refund the customer for their purchase, but keep in mind that depending on the situation, you may never see this customer again.  For some people, this is not an issue.

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Charging a Direct Sales Party Deposit

Sometimes direct sales can be frustrating.  You have a party on the books, you are hostess coaching, and a few days before the event the hostess cancels on you.  Maybe it is one of your prime dates and now you are going to be home, not making an income that night.  One suggestion is to charge a party deposit to help prevent this.  While it is ultimately up to you whether you charge one or not, here are some things to consider.

Advantages to a deposit:

People are less likely to cancel if they lose a deposit

If there is a sales/attendance requirement to get the deposit back, people are more likely to make an effort

Guaranteed sales if you roll the deposit into product for the host

Disadvantages to a deposit:

People are less likely to book a party with you when they know there are other reps that do not charge

It may be difficult to get bookings from a party when you institute this policy

People may expect more if they have to give a deposit

Determining what is an appropriate amount

Setting a policy that the customer signs to make sure they are aware of what is a valid reason to cancel

Quite honestly, while a deposit sounds like a great idea, in practicality, it is not necessarily the greatest thing to do.  If you find that you are getting a lot of cancellations, you may want to start asking people why they are cancelling to find out what is going on.  If you are only getting a few, chalk it up to life and use that time to make customer satisfaction calls or advertising.

Do you charge a deposit?  Does it work for you?

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