How to provide great customer service

Your success depends on positive interactions with each customer you serve and requires a “personal” approach. Whether face-to-face, on the telephone or via e-mail, every connection you make must give a customer confidence that you are a professional and are working for his/her success and satisfaction, as well as your own.

1. Create happy customers

Attracting new customers is important, but your ultimate success lies with happy existing customers for two very important reasons: (i) it takes more time to attract new customers than it does to maintain existing ones and (ii) customers who are pleased with your services tell their friends and acquaintances. That’s free marketing for you! Don’t forget that your customers have alternatives. Few, if any, customers will tell you they are dissatisfied; they will simply take their business elsewhere. If you lose a customer, it’s very difficult to win them back. You need to provide an excellent service that generates a profit and keeps your customers’ best interests in mind.

2. Satisfy customer needs and exceed customer expectations

There is one fundamental principle that you should abide by above all else: satisfy customers’ needs while surpassing their expectations. Though each of your customers might require a different degree of “care” these guidelines will ensure you are always providing a quality service. Follow the 3 P’s: Be Patient Be Polite Be Professional

3. Communicate with your customers

You can never be “too” responsive or provide your customers with too much information. Be punctual whether you are answering an e-mail, sending a shipment, or responding to a phone call. Never assume anything: ask questions to ensure that you understand your customers’ needs and to get a clear picture of the situation. Asking questions also shows that you care. Handle any problem or complaint in a manner that shows that your goal is your customers’ satisfaction.

4. Follow-up with your customers

Stay in touch with your customers. They are the lifeline of your business; it’s critical that you keep your name in front of them.

5. Measure the quality of customer service

It’s important to understand that the quality and integrity of your service has a direct impact on your success and your reputation. Compose a "How're We Doing?" card or email. Keep it short and simple. Ask things like: what it is they like; what they don’t like; what they would change; what you could do better; about their latest experience there, etc. Be sure to acknowledge receipt of the card or email.

Tips

  • For good customer service, go the extra mile.
  • Give customers the benefit of the doubt.
  • If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say yes.
  • Don’t make promises unless you WILL keep them.
  • Deal with complaints quickly and gracefully.
  • Be helpful - even if there’s no immediate profit in it.
  • Throw in something extra.

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