“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or
measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” ~Douglas Adams,
In this age of ever-declining customer service, it’s important that we, as
small business owners, take responsibility of our customer service skills and
really take care of our customers and clients. So what are some GREAT customer
service tips to make sure that your customers always feel like they’re number
one in your business?
Don’t let the “grumps” invade your business.
No matter how bad your day is
going or your week, for that matter, don’t ever let it invade any sort of
communication with a client. If you absolutely cannot deal with a customer
problem at that moment, let the phone call go to voicemail or let the email sit
in your inbox for a moment and take a break. Go outside, get a fresh breath,
whatever it takes… When you’re speaking to your client, get a smile on your face
and don’t get upset.
Turn the tables.
Go into any situation with a client with the following
questions in mind: If this were me, how would I want to be treated? What would I
be expecting to compensate me for my time, my unhappiness, etc.? How would I
Be honest with your customers.
Set out what you can and can’t do from the
outset of your relationship with your clients. Don’t propose doing things you
don’t know how to do and don’t accept assignments you can’t complete or don’t
know how to do. If, for some reason, you can’t meet an assigned deadline, be
honest with them about why you can’t meet it and ask for an extension. Let them
know as early as possible that you can’t meet it and go from there.
If you can’t do something that a customer asks of
you, provide alternatives, whether it’s farming some work out to a colleague as
a subcontractor or suggesting other professionals altogether. This not only
makes customers think you’re an honest businessperson, but it often results in
positive word of mouth.
Whether it’s “padding” the time you quote for
a project or giving yourself a cushion on delivery time, always try to exceed
their expectations of what you’re doing for them. For example, if you tell them
you’re going to have a PowerPoint presentation proofread for them in three days,
get it done in two and maybe find some additional clip art/photographs for them
to use to “kick it up a notch.”
Record special dates in your clients’ lives and remember them.
hand-written notes for birthdays, anniversaries, special dates, etc. And always
send hand-written thank-you notes for special gifts or bonuses received from
them. While this may seem old-fashioned and a little quirky, it means a lot more
to someone than a quick email or phone call.
Follow up with customers.
When you complete a project or order, don’t just
leave them hanging until they get your invoice or until they need you again.
Follow up with them to ensure that they got what they wanted and don’t need
something changed. Be proactive with your clients’ satisfaction levels.
People are more likely to refer you on to their friends and associates if
they’re content with your level of customer care than if you deliver a superior
product. If your level of dedication and honesty is there, the word-of-mouth
advertising is priceless.
Author: Patty Benton Delivering the "Wow" Factor