One of the best ways to keep your customers coming back is by offering them details. The more specific you can be, the more most people will appreciate your efforts. When you offer customers details, you’re telling them you are willing to be thorough and complete as you help them. And you’re telling them you know what you’re doing. Details give you credibility.
For example, as I was paying bills a few days ago, I noticed a charge on my credit card that did not belong. It was from a hotel I stayed at recently. So, I called the hotel to ask about it. The person who answered told me she would have to research it and call me back.
She didn’t say when she would call me back.
If she had put herself in my shoes, she might have considered that this was an inconvenience for me. The hotel had made a mistake and I had to use my time to fix it. And, now I’m supposed to wait for some indeterminant amount of time, hoping she’ll call back.
A better way would have been to offer me her name and a time range during which she would call back. That would tell me she’s willing to be held accountable. And it would give me something to plan against. If she didn’t call back in the promised time frame I could call again and escalate the matter.
Think of details like this. If you sit down in a restaurant, look at the menu and notice there are no prices, how does that make you feel? Does it make you want to stay? Or would you rather have the prices on the menu so you know what your options are?
Of course, in most restaurants, we expect prices on the menu. But many people in many businesses leave their customers wondering on a regular basis without ever giving it a second thought. We could all come up with dozens of examples…
At the doctors office: “Please have a seat and we’ll call you when the doctor is ready.” (Will that be today?)
The cable company: “We’ll be there sometime next Tuesday morning.” (Who has time to waste an entire morning?)
The grocery store: “It’s in aisle 8.” (Along with 2,000 other items!)
At the airport: “Gate 5 is that way.”
Often people’s voice mail says: “I’ll call you back as soon as possible” (I’m guilty of this). But that says I’m focused on my schedule, my needs and my priorities. A better approach would be to tell callers when you will be returning calls or offer them another way to reach you.
There are many ways we can serve our customers better by offering them more details, more specifics and more help. Sure, it takes time and it takes planning. It’s more work. But it’s worth it. People don’t like wondering or wandering. If your service prevents them from doing either, they’ll come back more often.