Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Customer Service is the Key

Happy Monday!!!  Let’s start off the week talking about customer service.  I mean if booking parties at the party is the best way to fill your calendar, right?  What about after the party?  What kind of customer service do you provide to keep them coming back to YOU?

The No. 1 reason why customers bail (on a consultant or a business) is the lack of customer service. The key is to make sure your customers feel wanted so they want to stay where they’re appreciated. But to make customers love you, you’ll have to work even harder.  Here are some tips that I have gathered along the way..

The golden rule is to Never assume. You know what they say “You make an a$$ out of you and me”, right?  You may think you know what customers want. But what if you’re wrong?

1. Talk with your customers. Ask questions and build your approach around the wants, needs and desires of your customer. Not only will you get a better understanding of customer needs, you’ll be able to identify innovative ways to solve their problems and exceed their expectations.

2. Always deliver. To win customers, you need to deliver on time, every time. I communicate ALOT after the party with my customers.  I email them when the party closes and when I receive the shipping information for the party. This way, they know what to expect.  Customers like to know what it happening with their order.

3. Personalize loyalty programs. In order to ensure you have a winning loyalty program, you must plan, design and execute it in a systemized way. I tried the “frequent buyer cards” but they didn’t seem to work for the majority of my customers.  I offer incentives for party and recruit referrals which has also worked on a limited basis.

4. Say “Thank You.” Do you mail thank you notes or postcards to your customers?  I used to do this ALL the time, then I fell out of practice.  I was surprised at how many people appreciated the simple handwritten note.  I am definitely implementing it back in my “after party tasks” this year.  This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about the value you place on your customers.

5. Stay connected. It is recommended that every customer should receive a “touch” at least once a month and, with an email or e-newsletter.  Your “touches” should be more about information or educationally-oriented and designed to add value to their experience with you, rather than just as a mechanism for pushing products or services.  Most direct sales companies have monthly newsletters which go out once a month – AWESOME.  Thirty One also supplies the consultant with an “activity report” that tells us who, what and when our customers read it.  This is a great conversation starting when making those “pink bag” calls.

6. Play favorites. New customers are critical to growth, but you must ensure that current or long-standing customers get VIP treatment as well.  I haven’t found a way to do this yet but I am working on it.  I do have a birthday club where customers are given a discount on their purchase during the month of their birthday.  This has received some rave reviews from my customers.

So when your calendar is light, rely on your EXCELLENT customer service to help you reach your monthly goals.  Connect with your customers on special days (anniversary, birthday, etc).  Make them feel special and they will keep coming back.  A loyal customer is a GREAT referral base for your next party.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Is FREE Worth the Cost?

Friday and the start of the weekend….some of you may be hosting parties while others are trying out vendor events to expand your customer base.  In either case, we are looking to grow our business and in our eagerness we sometime give away too much.  I have to admit that I am guilty of this. So, I went on a hunt to find some tips for offering incentives WITHOUT hurting sales or in some cases cutting your price….

Direct Selling Education Foundation offered lots of tips in a recent article with my favorites are:

  • Loyalty Programs – Every time a customer places an order with me, they receive a “frequent shopper card”.  After 5 purchases of $31 or more, they are entitled to a discount on the 6th purchase of $15.  I have some regular customers who absolutely LOVE this bonus.  Here is the money side of things – 5 purchases x $31 = $155 at 25% commission = $38.75 – $15(discount) = $23.75.  Yes, there is a slight cost but in the long run – it is great for building a relationship with your customers.  Even though customers that purchase once online, I send them a thank you card AND a frequent shopper card.  Who knows where your next loyal customer will come from, right?
  • Free Gift With Purchase – Everyone likes something for FREE no matter how small the item.  I often offer a Thirty One Key FOB with a minimum purchase of $75 or a FREE nail file with a $35 purchase.  Both of these items can be purchased at a discounted rate as a consultant or I can add it to the customer’s order and receive a commission on it.  I have also made various crafts (magnets, coasters, angels, gift card holders) with our retired prints that I offer as a FREE gift at some vendor events for placing an order.  The cost is minimal and lets the customer know how much I appreciate them.

A Thirty One product experience allows an individual customer to try our products in the comfort of their home without having a party.  Just for allowing me to come into their home to share my products, I now give them a small gift (usually a key fob).  This has been a great way to increase sales and build relationships with customers who LOVE our product but are NOT party people.   In some cases, I have had orders well over $200 while in other cases it has only been a $35 order – either way, it is a great way to build customer relationships.  When a customer is placing a large individual order (just shy of a $200 party minimum), I will add an outside order to make it a party and offer the customer the FREE or half price item typically available to a hostess.  With no cost to me, the customer is grateful for the FREE bonus and will remember it when they are ready to shop again.

Incentives are a great way to connect with new potential customers but you don’t want to GIVE away everything for FREE.  Then why would I shop, right?  Think outside of the box and there are endless possibilities.  What are some of your ideas?  Please share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!