Customer Service is a critical factor for keeping your clients coming back and ensuring they’ll refer you to others.
Growing your business will be a difficult task at best if you don’t perform, meet and exceed your client’s expectations, and provide service that creates customers for life.
Customer service is all about the customer’s perception. You have to do more than just get the job done. You must deliver on all the things (big and small) that affect the relationship with your client. Consider opportunities for improvement in the following areas.
1. Setting/Reviewing Expectations. Do you work with your client to set clear, appropriate, realistic expectations that you can always meet or exceed? Are you clear about the responsibilities (both yours’ and the client’s), timelines, and expectations of results? Are you then willing to go back and review these expectations with the client at key points along the way?
2. Communication. Do you have mechanisms in place to ensure you’re communicating with clients at every stage of the engagement, from the sales process through to completion of the project? Being clear about where you’re at, what’s been completed, what’s coming up next, who’s responsible, what results you can expect, etc.? Has the client ever had to ask you for these things?
3. Organization. Are you organized? Punctual? Reliable? When you show up to work with your clients, have you done the work and are you prepared to make them feel comfortable and taken care of? Even though you’ve done it hundreds, maybe thousands of times before, do you take the time to organize and prepare to make it the best client experience possible?
4. Committing to the Little Things. Don’t ever dismiss the power of all the little things. Together they can make all the difference and really separate you from the competition. Returning calls and emails in a timely manner. Providing useful information to folks on a regular basis. Showing appreciation for your clients through things like thank you notes, exclusive client-only briefings, and open house, etc.
Clearly these are not the only relevant areas for creating great customer service. I’m sure you can think of more. But, pick just one of these areas and create an action plan to improve it in your business today. Make a commitment to continuously improve the level of service you’re providing and see how it pays off. When you’ve done it, pick another area and work on it.
About the Author
Kevin Dervin is focused on helping small businesses that are ready to grow, but struggle with how to consistently attract more clients.