Have you ever loved a store or restaurant SO much that you find yourself NEEDING to give them your business? Have you ever had an unpleasant experience at that same venue that leaves you NEVER wanting to provide them a penny of your hard-earned money again? The way businesses treat their customers has an impact on repeat business, word of mouth, positive social media reviews, and even negative reviews. Here are some of the ways that you can help create a more satisfying involvement with your most crucial business marketing tools: your customers.

Listen and Care About Your Customers Needs

Often when a customer calls a business to complain about something, they need someone to listen to them and fully understand what their issue is. They aren’t looking for the voice on the other end of the phone to dismiss their problem and issue a quick refund or coupon code. They want to be understood - as human beings, don’t we all? Only by opening your ears and not even reacting until your customer has fully vented to you can completely change the situation’s outcome. A customer who feels understood and listened to will more than likely have a chance to take a breath and think that their problem has validity, which will more than likely calm them down and prepare them to come up with a solution with you. By asking your customer what they feel would be a fair compromise to their issue shows that your business considers them as a person and that they aren’t treated like every other one of your patrons. Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Another way to treat your customer as a real person would be to check up on them when there isn’t an issue. Maybe you had been talking to “Sally” a few weeks ago, and she mentioned a baby shower she would be attending in the next few months. You could call or e-mail Sally to see if there was anything she needed to purchase for the baby shower or if maybe she needed a new dress for the occasion (obviously depending on the type of business you are running). This is an excellent way to show your customers you do listen to them and provide a solution to a problem that maybe Sally had forgotten about or not even thought about it. Implementing these free and relatively easy means of caring about your customers will go a long way.

Be Real; Keep Your Promises

“Come on down to Makeup World to receive your FREE full-sized sample of the greatest foundation on earth!” That deal would make you want to hop out of your sweats and run down to your local Makeup World to scoop up that promo, right? Well, what if you got there, and they explained that you had to purchase $100 worth of product and listen to a thirty-minute spiel about the merchandise to collect on the deal? This has happened SO many times in my personal experience. It makes me feel like a complete dummy. Businesses need to stop advertising false or misleading claims. It just hurts their customer base in the long run. Sure, initially, they may see an upswing in customer traffic flow. Still, once those consumers feel duped by a company, the chances of returning are pretty slim. Keeping a promise is one of the oldest “tricks in the book” to gain trust. Whether it be with a friend, family member, or yes - even a customer, it is a tried and true way of retaining those unique relationships.

Seek Their Opinions and Take Action

Obtaining feedback from your customer base is one of the most valuable ways to grow your business. Who better to tell you how to make your company better than the people who are essentially funding it? Seeking ideas from your customer base can be an informative and fun way to interact with your clientele. You can create surveys, run promotions for feedback (15% off for a suggestion on what would make you want to shop there more often), or run an interactive “chat” over Facebook or your preferred social media platform. This is a fun and simple way to engage your clients to make them feel like a part of your team while gaining relevant knowledge and concepts from the people who are putting their own money into your brand. It is a win-win!

Provide Personal Touches

Doesn’t it make you feel special when you open your e-mail and see a personalized coupon just for you? “Hi, Jessica! Here is 10% off your next order”. Customized touches like this do go far. When you see your name on anything, it makes it that much more special and appealing. People are likely to pay more attention to something with their name on it than without it. This is a great way to ramp up business and also retain business. There is a tricky line with being personal and being creepy, though. It may turn a customer off if your company is continuously bombarding customer e-mails with the “Hi Jessica” propaganda. Make sure your e-mail blasts are tasteful and not overbearing.

Treat Your Workers Like Customers

This is such an overlooked practice, in my opinion. Treating your employees like you treat your customers is one of the most effortless ways to entice new customers and retain old ones. Yet, it seems to be the hardest to put into action. When you treat your workers with the same respect and dignity that you show your regular shoppers, it makes your workers want to work 100% harder. Respect and appreciation are the two most underrated values, in my opinion, in business owners’ eyes. When workers feel valued and respected, they feel more like a family member more than just a wage worker. And when workers think these things, it gets conveyed to the customer 100%. I love giving my business to companies where I know they value their employees. It makes me feel like I am giving my money to a business and a family.