The past month we've talked a lot about handling customer service from the stand point of when things are not going right. We've looked at you not being the first person to provide answers, firefighting, and how things are handled when they go wrong. All of these are necessary steps for providing excellent service, but in order to provide top of the line customer service, you also need to be thinking about how you can be proactive. Customer service isn't always about handling the day to day or when things go wrong, but about going above and beyond.
To be proactive in providing extras such as sending out birthday cards, holiday gifts, welcoming packages or just thank you for doing business with us postcards, you must be organized. It's not the fun side of customer service but it is the critical, behind the scenes work necessary to wow your clients day after day. The two main steps for organizing the service you provide to your clients include: ranking and scheduling.
- Ranking: As your business grows, it's just not practical to provide the exact same level of service to each client. Some clients will need more attention than others based on the value they bring to your business. On rare occasions, you also need to know when to limit service to clients that are not profitable or a fit for your business model. Remember that by ranking your clients we're not necessarily talking about the service they get on a day to day basis or when something goes wrong, but in your proactive service. Your ranking system should look at factors that include, but are not limited to: current business, profitability, potential business, and their ability to refer you to others. If you're a coaching client, ask your coach about our Client Ranking Scorecard.
- Scheduling: Once you have ranked your clients into categories, you can schedule the proactive touches your business should have in each category throughout the year. Those customer service touches might include letters, gifts, meetings, calls, or emails. They can be business related or fun, but should also be about building the relationship. If you're a current coaching client, ask your coach about the Client Touch Matrix.
Once you have a broad schedule for the client touches have your staff devise a system for carrying out these touches. Using an electronic calendar to setup reminders is a great way to keep this on track.
Time is a limited resource. If you read through this and think, it sounds great, but I don't have time to do this, we encourage you to take it in steps. Start with your top clients. Devise a plan for them and put it into action. Then work on your other clients. Or work on ranking your clients and once you have that in place work on scheduling. Or share this email with your staff and ask them how your business could implement the ideas. Take action today.