How well does your business keep it's promise to customer's? Client service or customer service is all about delivering on the promises that you make. If you deliver your promise well and customers are happy it often leads to referrals and repeat business. If you fail to deliver your promise it often has an immediate negative result and long term results that can impact the success of your business. It's vital for small businesses to be able to deliver an outstanding client service. Below are a collection of articles on client service from our weekly Business Owner Insights.
Every business owner knows providing excellent service is important. Many businesses have standards and expectations in place for their employees when it comes to customer service. They have processes, systems, scripts, and other resources for communicating with customers in person, over the phone, through email, when texting, etc.
This month we've been discussing the importance of knowing your customers. We've looked at how to identify frustrations and how to be proactive in dealing with frustrations. Last week we touched on an important piece of your customer service, which is that your customers want to know that they are valued.
This week we want to challenge you to define what that looks and feels like. If you don't have one already, consider creating a customer promise or a value statement that outlines what your customers should experience as part of your business. If you already have these documents, pull them out and see if they are still relevant or need to be refreshed.
In the last few weeks, we've discussed the importance of knowing your customers and being able to listen for when your customers are frustrated. The next step in providing excellent customer service is to understand what areas of your business are likely to frustrate your customers and be able to quickly react to them. As you work through understanding your customer's frustrations there will be a set of frustrations that you can solve through systems and processes, but there will also be frustrations that your business will never be able to completely eliminate.
Quote: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." -Henry Ford
Our Thoughts: There have been many articles written, especially on innovators such as Ford or even Steve Jobs, which discuss that customers don't always have the answer. They can't always tell you want they want if they can't imagine it themselves. There's definitely a kernel of truth to this, but it doesn't mean you can tune out your customers. It means that your business needs to listen differently.
There's a little known feature in Google Maps that displays just how well Google understands their customers. Take out your cell phone and open the Google Maps app. Now let's say you were trying to find a location, but when you got to the end of the directions the destination was wrong. Frustrated? Shake your phone and see what happens.
Last week we began a series on collections, a vital part of your customer service. This is often a overlooked process for keeping and building customer relationships.
You may be thinking: "What?! Collections are vital to keeping and building customer relationships? Are you crazy? The reason I have to "collect" from them is because they have not paid me when they were supposed to --- why would I want to keep and build that relationship?!" Simply put, you want to build these relationships, because they have already done business with you and because they do owe you money.