We’ve all heard the saying that the customer is always right. This may not always be the case, but even if the customer isn’t always right, it’s true that they are ALWAYS a priority! The ability to provide strong customer service doesn’t involve breaking new ground; even simple considerations can make your clients appreciative. Remember, it is your customers/clients that make your business survive (and hopefully thrive), so making sure their needs are met should always be your focus. If you’re looking to ensure that your customers/clients are happy, here’s a few ways to elevate your customer service!
1. Don’t leave your customers hanging
One of the worst things you can do for a client is to leave them in the dark. If they take the time to reach out to you, they are doing so with the expectation that they’ll receive a timely response – a very reasonable assumption! If you want to keep your customers happy, it is important to show them that their comments, questions, or concerns matter to you as much as they matter to them. And if you leave them hanging, you’re doing just the opposite! Even if you aren’t able to provide an immediate response (we understand that you can’t be at everyone’s every beck and call around the clock), a response within 24 hours is not an unreasonable request, and if there is any additional delay on top of that, it should be clearly communicated ahead of time, via an automatic response, etc. As we said, it’s not rocket science; it’s just common courtesy!
2. Don’t be afraid to exceed expectations
It is one thing to complete a project on time or to fulfill your commitment to a client as laid out, but why settle for expectations when you could exceed them? Going the extra mile for your clients not only puts a smile on their face, but it can be a differentiator for your business moving forward. If you develop the reputation of going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure your clients are content, then you are far more likely to have repeat customers and develop new clients along the way. So next time you have a deadline, try to beat it by a few days; next time you come to an agreement, add a little something extra; next time you think you’ve done your job, ask if there is anything else you can do. This truly is a case of a little going a long way, so don’t be afraid to exceed expectations!
3. Hear them out and help them out
You can’t provide a solution unless you know the problem and you can’t know the problem unless you take the time to hear it! You should never assume (we all know the saying) that you know what your client will want or what they’re going to ask because, chances are, you’ll make them feel silly for asking or make their request seem small. Even if the answer or steps are obvious to you, that doesn’t mean you need to dismiss the conversation as nothing. If you’re quick to dismiss your client’s request, you can’t be surprised if your client is then quick to dismiss you. But taking the time to listen to their conversations, asking follow up questions to ensure you get the whole story, and thoroughly explaining the correct course of action will go a long way to making clients feel heard, appreciated, and assisted!
4. Keep your customers in the loop
We know we’ve discussed the importance of answering your customers’ questions, but it’s also important for you to spark the conversation every now and then. The work that you do for a client, whether it is a one-off project, a short-term deal, or a long-term relationship, should involve a good deal of back and forth. If people are going to spend money on something, chances are that they will want to know that the money is being well spent, so let them know what’s going on, provide them with updates, share your results, and make sure that they are comfortable throughout the process. Leaving customers in the dark only opens you up to issues along the way, so make your work transparent, known, and understood!
5. Extend your customer service to multiple channels
Customers want to be able to reach you, whether they have a question during typical business hours or have an idea pop into their head during an evening or weekend. So what better way to foster this anytime interaction than by making yourself available in multiple ways? It’s not just about picking up a phone anymore – customers are emailing, texting, having online chats, messaging on social media, and much more. Your clients (and potential clients) are getting more tech savvy and engaging with businesses differently, so it is up to you to either sink or swim. But the more present you are across these channels, the more your customer service can keep you above water!
Putting your customers first doesn’t have to be hard – it just has to be done! They are the backbone of your business, so you need to put your best foot forward, whether it’s a first meeting or a long-standing relationship. Making that effort – responding in a timely manner, keeping them informed, making yourself accessible, ensuring they are head, and going the extra mile – can be the difference between one-offs and repeat business, and since it is much easier (and less expensive) to retain a customer, the choice is easy!