Acquiring customers is not easy, and acquiring customers that love your brand is even harder. Just the way it is not easy to win the heart of a lover who really loves you for who you are, so is it hard to win customers who would love your business for whatever it is. In fact, winning a new customer is harder than retaining an existing one, and it costs up to six times what it takes to retain an old customer to win a new one.
But this business problem may be solved quite easily through customer-friendliness.
Being customer-friendly means loving customers for who they are and getting them to love you back. A quick example here: have you been to some banks in Nigeria where security guards courteously bid you welcome to the bank at your arrival, and wish you a nice day at your departure?
A guard welcomes you with smiles at the main entrance and another also welcomes you into the bank when you get inside the banking hall; one then wishes you a nice day as you leave the hall and another equally wishes you well as you exit the bank premises.
That indeed is customer-friendliness. That is what it means to be friendly with all customers – at all times…under all circumstances.
Why then must your business be customer-friendly and caring?
It turns your customers into brand ambassadors
When you treat your customers with all respect and attention, they become brand ambassadors for you. They spread the word about your products, services, and business culture. They become product advertisers and reviewers for you without even knowing it. When your customers know that you value them and care for their patronage, then they begin to promote you to all places in an unconscious manner.
It builds brand loyalty
If you want a customer to stick with you through thick and thin, then you must treat them right by being very friendly. The more you care about your customers the more they care about your business. When you are fiercely loving to your customers, they discount your competitors and stay with you.
For instance, many toothpaste users in Nigeria only use the Close-Up brand from Unilever even though it is costlier in the face of numerous other brands. That means the users are loyal to the Close-Up toothpaste brand. Some people read only the Punch newspaper and no other ones year in-year out, regardless of the news content carried by other newspapers. Now that is brand loyalty.
It brings more revenue even in the face of the harsh economy
When your business is customer-caring, it puts more money in your pocket regardless of the fact that the economy may be harsh. For instance, many businesses raise the prices of their products to reflect harsher economic times, yet customers pay the new price with little to no complaints – because the business treats them right.
Customers will pay higher prices for your products and services in the face of harsher economic realities when you are very friendly and caring to them. But they will switch to lesser alternatives if you ever raise your prices without a corresponding respect culture in your company.
In order to be customer-friendly and caring, your business must do the following –
- Show respect and concern to people long before they become customers
- Manage and exceed customer expectations with a dedicated sense of duty
- Learn to apologize genuinely if customers complain about any aspects of your service
- Use technology and other avenues to make it easy for customers to patronize you
- Establish customer-friendly policies by training your employees accordingly
- Put a support system in place to respond to customers’ issues immediately
- Let your interactions with customers be open and transparent
- Treat customers like royalty because that is who they really are and they know it too
- They are customers, but let them realize that they are also partners with you in business
It must be added that despite your friendly business culture, some customers get intoxicated by patronizing you. They think they are always right as per the cliché and so cross the lines of customer decency. But no. The customer is not always right but is always human. So treat them as such and they will reciprocate the respect you extend towards them. That is the importance of quality customer-friendliness in business.