Once upon a time, customers knew the people they were buying from: the grocer, the butcher, the pharmacist, and other neighborhood characters. If we were to all look around us now, we would notice that very few businesses have got customer service right yet. So, the good news is that there is a significant WOO (Window Of Opportunity) for those who choose to invest now in customer service and differentiate their offer with a commitment to not just providing good service (after all good just isn’t good enough) but very good, excellent, or, better yet, world-class service. Therein lies the bad news. Good isn’t good enough and world-class is a very long way away for most of us. In fact, it is so far out of our reach that it seems as consumers ourselves, we seem prepared to continue to shop where the service is just barely even—fair.

A customer’s first contact with your company must be a positive experience, regardless of whether that contact occurs via the telephone, the internet, or in person. If clients generally call your company, make sure your receptionist interacts well with strangers and is knowledgeable about the business. And, whenever possible, avoid automated telephone   recordings   with   confusing menus. If clients are likely to first encounter you via the internet, make sure your website is attractive, easy to navigate and, by all means, accurate. If you meet customers face-to-face, make sure they’re greeted with a smile and an immediate offer to provide assistance.

Whether you deal with customers in person, by phone, or via email, the cardinal rule of good customer service is to follow up when a customer contacts you. Delays in returning voice mails or neglecting emails give the impression that the customer is not important to you.

While making customers know that you care is important, your attempts to convey that message should be tempered by professional courtesy. For example, phone calls should be kept to a reasonable level to avoid making clients feel harassed. Keep in mind that your clients are likely busy people who are paying you to take care of business. Don’t overburden them with details unless they specifically request it.

Although it may be uncomfortable delivering bad news, most clients appreciate getting honest, complete information up-front, free of sugar-coating or promises on which you can’t deliver. Misleading your customers or leaving them in the dark about important things will make you appear deceptive and untrustworthy.

If you’ve ever worked in a customer service position, then you know the old adage that ‘the customer is always right’ isn’t accurate. We all have customers who are difficult, or clients who make unreasonable demands. While you shouldn’t feel obligated to give in to every outrageous request a customer proposes, you should make every effort to calmly deal with unsatisfied customers and tactfully address their concerns. Telling a customer that he’s dead wrong, or calling him out for lying is never acceptable.

Now let me really REALLY FREAK YOU OUT!

If you are amazing at resolving problems for your clients or at least you think you are but have never really been put to the test, then I want you to go and INTENTIONALLY make a mistake or create a problem or disappoint a client!  WHAT?  Yes do it!  Why? 

It is proven that when a client encounters an issue and has that issue resolved brilliantly their loyalty to the company that caused but fixed the issue will…wait for it….you know what I’m about to say…GO UP!  

Now please don’t actually go and make a whole bunch of mistakes to prove I’m right.  I know I am.  The important learning is not be afraid about mistakes,don’t beat yourself over the head for a mistake.  Rather welcome the mistakes and resolve them brilliantly and you’ll be just fine.  This is key though…what is “brilliant Problem Resolution.?  I define brilliant Problem Resolution as making the client not just as good as they would have been if the problem had never happened but better off than they would have been.  Which goes to my final point.

Consider adopting a company strategy, if not a culture, of ‘UP- OD’, or ‘under promise, over deliver’. There is tremendous power in such an approach because we can’t exceed client expectations if we don’t first know their initial expectations and communicate clearly the actual agreed upon outcome/timing.

If your business is behind on having any kind of organized customer service strategy and as a result are only offering FAIR to GOOD service then book NOW for a consultation (see below) and lets build into your business plan a plan to WOW your clients.

Now you’re ready to take the FOCUS Customer Service Quiz to test your company’s understanding of Customer Service. To request the Quiz just email me HERE with “Send Me The Customer Sat Quiz” in the Subject line and we’ll send it to you right away. 

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?

James Burgess, Focus31, CHAOS- FREE Business Planning1.You can find out more about what a business plan is and its importance with the international best-selling book CHAOS; How Business Leaders Can Master the Power of Focus. Get your FREE copy HERE

2. Use our FREE business planning program FOCUS Yourself; A 7 Module Business Plan Program. This is not a business plan template, it is a full business plan that is EASY and FAST, making your plan SUSTAINABLE and entirely PRACTICAL. Start your business plan NOW

3. Not sure why you need a small business plan? REGISTER for a FREE FOCUS Discovery Consultation where you will talk business, your business, with international best-selling author James Burgess

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