Customer Experience News & Trends

9 things you must remember about customers

Your memory may be the most valuable tool in winning customer loyalty.

The more you remember about customers, the more likely they’ll value their relationship with you and remain loyal.

But, of course, service pros don’t have to commit everything to memory. Most importantly, you want to keep track of and refer to the things that are important to customers.

Here are nine things to always remember about customers:

1. Their names

As soon as you know their names, start using them.

“A person’s name is a precious possession,” says John Tschohl, a service strategist and founder of The Service Quality Institute. “Remembering a name represents a simple, but powerful, customer care skill that people notice and appreciate.”

An example of leveraging the use of people’s names: At Vail Resorts, where visitors have their passes scanned to get on a lift, employees quickly use their names when they see them. “OK, James, you’re good to go,” they might say as visitors move through.

2. Their last order

Customers are most likely to contact customer service about their most recent purchase. The information on the most recent transaction should be at service pros’ fingertips.

Then, rather than ask customers to repeat information about the order, reps can ask them to confirm what they know (and see in the database). For instance, “Mr. Jones, are you contacting me about the S-Line you received last week?” Assuming he is, say, “How is that working out for you so far?”

3. Relationship status

Some customers are all business and want fast answers, responses and deliveries. Some are all about the relationship and want to chat it up for a bit, learn about you and talk about themselves. Others are a mix of them all.

When you know and respond to the relationship they want with you, they’ll find your company even more important to them.

4. Preferences

Any barista worth his stock knows his everyday customers’ preferences — from the special flavor to the amount of froth.

The same should hold true for loyal customers in a B2B or B2C situation. Train front-line service pros to scan account history and ask customers if they’d like to “order X again” or “still prefer the X model.” They can also point out any discrepancies in what customers order compared to what they’ve normally requested. They might catch an unintended change … or just prove to customers that you’re paying attention to what they want.

5. Their story

Many customers reveal things about their personal or professional lives over the course of a relationship with your company. While it’s not necessary to note everything that’s covered, it’s a good idea to keep track of — and check up on — what’s important to them, such as family members, pets, accomplishments and career changes.

For example: A service rep at an office supply company worked with a customer for many years. When he mentioned he was retiring, she knew to get him a book on gardening — a passion he’d mentioned often over the years and was looking forward to doing more in his retirement.

6. Their ideas

You ask for customer feedback, and some of them will give it. They’d love to know that you remembered it and, even better, actually used it.

Whether it’s from a formal survey or a casual conversation, let customers know that you heard and understood what they’ve suggested. Then, when relevant, tell them what’s been done with their feedback — perhaps an improvement or change to a process.

7. Valuable time

Customers think better of companies that value their time. In fact, many say they want more time than money, Stanford researchers say.

So they’re willing to pay a little more for a product or service, or invest a little more in a business relationship, if it comes hassle-free. By remembering their preferences, stories and other important details, you can streamline transactions and give customers back their time.

8. Special occasions

You can make the mundane special by remembering. Customers don’t likely recall the first time they did business with you. But you probably have that information at hand with order history.

Give them something on their yearly anniversary of doing business with you. Send a discount code, a promotional item or a bonus product, plus a hand-written note thanking them for their loyalty. Then their loyalty will continue.

9. Them again

You know that follow-up is extremely important to maintaining or reestablishing customer relationships after an issue. Research shows follow-up on just about anything has positive effects on the relationship.

In one study, wait staff who followed up with customers with a second set of mints after they delivered the bill got 23% more in tips.

Make notes. Set alerts. Remember to follow up at least once.

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