The aspects of good customer service never change. Building relationships, education, communication, and integrity are still key elements in keeping your clients coming back.
The tips listed below appeared in a newsletter titled The Keyboard Connection, which I published back in April, 1993, when I dubbed myself “Secretary at Your Service.” They were adapted from a list I found in a January 1993 publication of Nation’s Business.
The list may be old, but they are still goals for which we should all strive as we maintain present business relationships and develop new ones. I’ve elucidated a bit on the short article, previously entitled “Keys to Good Service.”
- Educate your clients about your product or service. It sets you up as a go-to expert in your field. That is one intention of this blog: to share with you a little insight into what I’ve discovered are best business practices as well as technicalities of the crafts of office management and writing I have learned over the years.
- Give your clients what they want, not what you want them to want. You’ll discover what they want only if you know how to ask questions and – more important – listen for the answers.
- Stand by your guarantees, no matter what. That’s why we should never promise more than we can deliver. It’s better to over-deliver than to over-promise.
- Help customers make informed decisions. The retailers I’m most likely to use again are the ones who may not carry what I need but will tell me where I can find it. They are the ones who want me to know everything about the product before I buy, even if it means it may postpone the sale. Why will I go back? Because I perceive they’re looking out for me, not their short-term profit.
- Keep in touch with your clients. A short note or phone call will let them know they’re important to you. I almost updated “note” to e-mail, then changed my mind. A short handwritten note is less likely to be put aside than an e-mail message. It’s certainly worth a lot more than the 10 minutes and 44 cents it will take to send it.
- Hold a customer appreciation day. I’m not sure how this one would apply to a long-distance business relationship. Any suggestions?
- Follow up purchases with a call to make sure your customer is satisfied. This shows you not only care about the product or service you deliver but about your relationship with the client. Conversely, it may also be a good practice to let your supplier know you’re pleased with a purchase – providing another boost to your relationship.
- Remember that “people do business with their friends.” This is what Facebook and Twitter are all about – building relationships and thereby building trust. Before doing business with anyone – particularly online – we all want to feel like we know something more about them than just what they’re trying to sell.