It's Easier Than You Think to Keep Customers Happy

You don't have to come up with clever ways to keep customers coming back: just follow these basic rules

Written by Jim McElgunn

When it comes to keeping customers happy, small details can be just as effective as grand gestures. In Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business, Bruce Poon Tip, founder of adventure-tour powerhouse G Adventures, explains the little things his firm does to keep every client satisfied.

Be available. Few things are more frustrating to a customer than talking to a machine. Live, 24/7 phone (or web) support may seem to be overkill, but it’s a detail clients remember.

Be gracious. When customers gripe about legitimate problems they encountered in dealing with your company, don’t get your back up. Instead, thank them for bringing the issue to your attention and let them know what you’re going to do to address it. It’ll make them feel heard, validate their concern and reduce their ire.

Don’t ignore the crazies. Even when you get complaints about things completely beyond your control—such as bad weather, which one G Adventures client used as the basis for a refund request—don’t simply dismiss them. An acknowledgement of the request and a polite acknowledgement of why you can’t honour it can neutralize a potentially vocal malcontent.

Set the bar higher. Two of G Adventures’ most popular policies—lifetime deposit (which allows customers who put down money for a trip they’ve had to cancel to use that payment for a future booking) and guaranteed departures (if you paid, you’re going, even if the trip isn’t full)—are extremely rare in the travel sector. By coming up with creative solutions to pain points buyers think are industry-standard, you’ll attract their attention—and, hopefully, their business.

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