Surprise and delight your customers with uncommon courtesy

We hear every day how busy everyone is. We’re busy, our friends our busy, our family members are busy, and on it goes. Guess what? No matter how busy you are, your customers only care about how busy they are. Why not delight them with courtesy that goes beyond what they expect — and respects the demands on their time as well?

Here are a couple of simple reminders about how to do that.

First, promptly return phone calls, even if you don’t recognize the caller’s name. Answer the phone as much as possible without letting it go to voicemail. If you are away from the phone or office, check your voicemail messages frequently, and then return all calls. You just don’t know if the caller might be your next best customer.

Second, same applies to e-mail messages. In my own business, we can’t sit at the computer all day waiting for e-mail messages to come in. But we can check them periodically throughout the day and make sure no message is left unresponded to for more than a few hours. Make sure you’re responding to your potential customers quickly and courteously.

And a couple more tips on interacting with customers: Never tell your potential customer that your services or products are expensive. Let the customer decide if the price is too high, and then be prepared to offer suggestions on how to lower the expense.

Finally, if it’s clear that the individual will not become a customer, still use uncommon courtesy in your interactions. You never know when that person might return – or send others your way.

(My thanks to Phyllis Tilden and Chris Watkins, for sharing their approach to uncommon courtesy with me for the last 15 years.)


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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA