You can be in any business, but, there is only one way by which you can attract new customers and keep your existing customers. That is to treat your customer as you like yourself to be treated. If something you won't like something personally, neither your customer will like it. For instance, if a company does not bother to answer your email or phone calls, will you be continue to be it's loyal customer, I bet you won't.
On the other hand, a loyal customer - a happy customer - will act like your marketing person without a salary (how good is that). How many times have you recommended Google Search to other people? I have done it a thousand times, whenever a computer illiterate person (like my uncle) asks me how to find the right information on the web. See, happy customer works for a company to add more customers.
People rely on stories. When a friend asks your advice or recommendations, you tell your suggestion and tell how 'that thing' benefited you and saved you time and money. If some service is really good, people spread good stories if not, bad stories. Bad stories travel fast.
Have you heard of Sharp Airlines or travelled with them before? Neither did I - until 3 months ago. Sharp airlines is a regional company that operates flights in the Western Victoria - mainly between Geelong, Hamilton, Portland and Melbourne. The planes are small, 19-seaters and everyone gets a window and aisle seat (how, there's only two rows of seats on either side of the aisle..lol). The ride is really a thrill as you can see the cockpit's view and whenever the plane goes through a bunch of cloud - you have to travel it to believe the excitement.
I travel occasionally to Melbourne from Hamilton to attend few meetings in our Timbercorp head office, so, I am one of the frequent flyer of the Sharp Airlines (:-p).
Just after the Sydney Hotel Experience, I traveled from Melbourne to Hamilton on a 9am flight, they said the flight is almost full and they have to leave some luggage behind (at least one per every customer) which will be safely come in the afternoon flight. I said to them fine with keeping my laptop with me.
As soon as I reached Hamilton airport, I asked the Sharp airlines people, if they could drop my luggage at home in the evening as it would be difficult for me to pickup the luggage as I don't have a car. They happily agreed and noted down my address.
As expected, one of the staff returned my luggage in the evening. The nice fellow said, the travel bag's handle is broken during the handling and he deeply apologised to me for the damage. I said to him, 'That is fine, it was already broken, and was just-hanging on its edges and do not bother about it!'. He said, 'No sir, we would like to replace a new travel bag for our fault, and please go tomorrow to one of the shops and buy a new travel bag and send us the bill, we will repay you the money'. I said, 'The travel bag was already damaged and I believe it is not happened during your baggage handling'. After few such talks, he requested me to do as he said, as Sharp Airlines has already lodged the insurance claim.
I was actually thinking of buying a good travel bag and wanted to buy before the next travel. I went next day and bought a good travel bag worth $240 and sent the bill and got the money back.
I agree that there are few troublesome customers who blame a company for everything and returns the products after use. In any way, you won' loose much if you choose to pay $250 for a damage that is not done by your company (as said by the customer). But, imagine the impact it created, I told this story to my colleagues to which they replied, 'what a good company it is' and now I have blogged this to showcase a good example of treating your customer right.
May be you won't travel by Sharp airlines or never come across one of it's small-planes in your life, but you may remember this story and think for a moment if you are caring for your customers like this. It doesn't cost much to do that, actually.
Now, readers , do you have any similar good or bad customer experience with any company? Did that change your decision to shop or not with the same company again? I would love to hear your stories in the comments section, even if it can be expressed in few words.