1. Be there!
There's nothing better than the good old
fashioned personal touch- answer your
phone within 3 rings; give your name and
be 'present' to the caller; avoid sounding
rushed or too busy. Every customer wants
to feel special; really being listened
to fosters this sense.
using voicemail/message-bank, make the
message clear and well spoken; use a friend's
voice if necessary. Making your message
day-specific - 'Hello, it's Monday the
17th .' - can help allay fears that a
message may go unnoticed.
you're using a mobile, try to avoid customers
having to leave messages in two places
as this can create the impression of being
illusive and hard to reach. In these circumstances
consider diverting your office phone straight
to your mobile.
2. Don't park in the best spot
Whether applied literally or metaphorically,
this is a classic faux pas to avoid. How
often do we see the best parking spots
reserved for the owner or staff?
a signal to send a prospect!
a look around your business and see if
you're unnecessarily pinching the best
3. Expand customer expectations
Do more than is expected. The phrase 'under
promise, over deliver' is the perfect
maxim for customer service. Don't promise
delivery schedules you can't meet, set
a comfortable date and surprise by delivering
to messages promptly, remembering that
any response is better than a long delay.
all, communicate constantly - never leave
a customer wondering what's happening.
Communicate every step of the way.
4. Ask permission
The advent of email and the dislike of
unsolicited mail or 'spamming', is a reminder
of the importance of seeking permission
in certain instances.
it's the use of nicknames, making a personal
comment within a business conversation
or divulging your customer's identity
to others - show respect and caution and
always ask permission.
5. Show understanding
To truly cement a new relationship, demonstrate
you fully understand the requirements
of your customer.
we get stuck behind the language of our
business and forget the outcome our clients
are seeking. Listen out for indicators
signalling what's wanted and reflect these
back using plain English.
like "Let me see if I fully understand
your requirements" followed by a
clear summary will do much to make your
customer feel comfortable and in the right
notes and listen for emotive language
- heightened emotions are links to customer
needs. Show that you've heard them and
state how your product or service can
fulfil the need.
6. Manage your image
If you employ contractors, freelancers
or temps within your business, your customers
will always judge them as if they are
representing your business adds to (or
detracts from) your image. Control your
image by establishing policies and procedures.
Customer service should be seen as a business-building
virus that permeates everywhere. Keep
your virus healthy!
7. Give business to others
Occasionally what we have to offer is
simply not what a customer is looking
for, or our services do not encompass
all that is required. In these instances
it pays to be knowledgeable and to refer
customers to others.
that truly serve their customers don't
rest until each customer is satisfied.
Be generous with your referrals, it will
8. Watch the big boys
Big business watches out for trends and
looks to see where opportunities exist
that small business is not satisfying.
This also works in reverse.
abreast of big company customer service
initiatives and look to translate them
into your business or better still, improve
9. Follow-up and feedback
Service doesn't stop when the sale is
concluded, this is when it's reinforced
and expanded. Follow-up customers to ensure
their needs have been met, ask for feedback
on the key areas of your business dealings
and show your sincerity by making changes
success stories (yes, there are plenty!)
are a great example of how customer behaviour,
habits and patterns can be immediately
applied to great advantage.
to comment, make changes, experiment.
10. Say thank you!
Say it everywhere. Say it on your invoices;
say it out loud; say it to your staff.
Never conclude a sale without a thank
more Robert Gerrish articles
more Customer Service articles