As many successful business owners and service providers know, good customer service is critical to building or maintaining their business. Exemplary customer service helps your business get noticed. But no matter how great your service or product happens to be, bad customer service can bring your business to a screeching halt.
So what can you do to improve customer service and keep your customers coming back?
Here are four things you can to do to improve customer service:
1. Always Keep Your Promises
No matter what type of product or service you offer, be sure you always deliver on your promises. If your business offers a money-back-guarantee or 24-hour service, be certain the customer gets exactly what you have promised.
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2. Over-Deliver on Commitments
Once your service standards have been established, find ways to provide service over and above what you have promised. Show your client that his business is important to you by blowing his socks off.
3. Plainly Discuss All Expectations
Clearly communicate to your client or customer what to expect from your company and how you intend to guarantee that they get the service they expect. Be sure your team members and staff know the customer service criteria you have established. Let them know that it's critical to be consistent and that providing excellent customer service will keep customers coming back again and again, which is always great for your profit margin.
4. Always Follow Up With Customers
This is crucially important, especially in the professional service field. Always remember, “Follow up, Follow up and then, Follow up again.” Always let your customer or client know how things stand. Have a plan for maintaining communication already established so that you can keep your clients current as to the progress of any project until it is completed successfully.
Unfortunately, many companies err by concentrating most of their efforts into acquiring new clients and not working hard enough to keep the clients they already have happy.
Your client may never tell you of his dissatisfaction, especially if it happens two or three times. They will just find someone to perform the same services that you do, and you will be at your desk wondering, “whatever happened to Mr. Smith, he used to call every month.” Even worse, your customer may share his bad experience with your company on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Remember this, customers may tell a few people about good service, but they will tell EVERYONE about bad service. And don't forget online reviews on sites like Google and Yelp. Having bad reviews show up on these high traffic sites can put a big dent in your bottom line.
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Excellent customer service is an essential tool in your arsenal. It doesn't cost much money but it will return its weight in gold. Keep in mind that it costs you more money to get new clients than it does to keep the clients you already have happy. Yes, your clients want the product or service you are offering, but excellent customer service goes a long way to creating customer loyalty, and this is always good for your bottom line.
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Victor R Bennett is a small business owner and freelance writer specializing in small and home-based business Support. After spending over 20 years in the IT industry and another 5 years as an offline business person, he decided to take the Internet plunge. His business SmallBizStop is dedicated to assisting others who are interested in starting their own business while remaining on a budget.