Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Providing great customer service

Everyone knows that loyal customers are profitable customers.  They purchase more frequently, buy a broader range of products and talk about your company to others as much as possible. It’s important that you take care of them as the more you do and show how much you appreciate their business, the more your clients will keep coming back.  As a company, providing great customer service should be a priority at all times. Here are some tips that will help you provide the best customer service you can. 

Fast service, faster communications.

Remember to communicate everything to your client quickly.  Reply to your clients’ communications as quickly as you can, as not acknowledging an email or voice mail is merely going to create more frustration.  Always be considerate of their needs by acknowledging their request or communications. You may not be able to complete a task or a request immediately, however you can always let them know that you received their message and provide a new schedule. Manage your client expectations by communicating your customer service communications policy i.e. when they should expect a response from you.

Keep clients updated.

Always let your clients know where you are in a project or in a product repair. Not knowing where they stand or what the status of a project is not a great feeling to have.  Make regular reports to your customers and let them be aware of how things are progressing. Are you facing any issues or challenges? Or is everything on track? Even if you’re experiencing any trouble, do not hesitate to let them know immediately and propose a solution to solve the problem. It shows that you’re keeping them in the loop and that you have things under control. Communicating any issues right away helps your client plan for contingencies.

Fix your mistakes.

If you did something that didn’t end up working, you should repair it as soon as possible. An easy way to lose a client forever is not admitting that you are at fault and not fixing your own mistakes. When you don’t take responsibility for your own faults, it is a quick way of getting a bad reputation.  

Go beyond the call of duty.

There is a maxim that you should always over-deliver and under-promise.  Not only will this result in a happy client, you will always be in top of mind as someone who can get things done.  Surprise your customers in not only delivering it ahead of time but providing an extra discount! Offer value – replace their product while it’s being fixed or pay for the shipping to pick up their broken item from their home.  You are not limited in how you can provide great value as long as you make it easy for the customer to do business with you.

Listen. Listen. Listen.

In all communications, the most important part of it is listening. If you’re not listening to what the client is saying, you are setting the stage for future frustrations. When a client is being very vague, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify. Try to read between the lines - by understanding what they are really saying, you can offer suggestions on the best way to go about fulfilling those needs.

Remember that providing great customer service is knowing  how you would want to be treated if you’re faced with the same situation.  No matter what kind of business you have, if it is customer based then maintaining quality customer service is the key to a success and profitability.