Creating and maintaining great customer service

There is no absolute how in getting new customers for your business, but there are numerous effective ways to do it. I am listing some of the easiest and fastest ways you can get new referrals to your business.

WORD OF MOUTH & CUSTOMER SERVICE

What I will be primarily targeting in the article is customer service which in turn creates positive word of mouth. Word of mouth is by far the most effective means of getting new clients in droves. There are many other conventional means of getting new clients such as social media marketing, newspaper ads, billboards, pamphlets etc.

But you’ll find that more people in your niche will come to you if you have positive word of mouth happening.

Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth isn’t the only way to get in new clients. But as I said earlier, word of mouth the most effective form of marketing for any business in any niche. You can apply the below points to get positive word of mouth out there, but never slow down on your other methods of marketing.

In essence you need to have great customer service, so how do you achieve that?

KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY

1. First and foremost in great customer service is: Keep your customers happy. Deliver what is expected, get the job done when you say it’ll be done. Be honest with them. Be polite.

EXCHANGE IN ABUNDANCE

2. Do something a little extra in each project or service you render. Exchange in abundance is what I like to call it. In my field, web designing and graphics designing, I would add a little extra feature to the client’s website or if I am doing a graphic design portfolio I would create an extra draft or I would create a free business card when the client only wanted a logo made. Maybe you’re running a hair salon, give each of your clients a small free sample of a hair shampoo or something. Your little extra never has to be expensive, but always try to do a little extra.

REFERRAL PROGRAM

3. Have a referral program. This can be your newsletter, email signature, your details at the bottom of each website you created etc. When I create a website for a client I always try to include my own website’s link at the bottom footer (obviously with the client’s permission). If you have a website perhaps offer a free download from your site. If you don’t have a website maybe you can slip a pamphlet in with any client’s receipt; pizza delivery companies do this.

DELIVERING WHAT IS EXPECTED

4. Complete each project when you say it will be complete. Even better complete you project before the time. Even a simple service like serving at a counter or reception, get the incoming client’s demands sorted out right away!

COMMUNICATION

5. Respond to customers as quickly as possible. Set a policy for yourself. If you’re just starting off a small business maybe make it a policy for yourself or you business to respond to ANY correspondence in the next 6 hours or 8 hours. There is no fixed rule here other than ALWAYS ALWAYS respond to correspondence before the next 24 hours are over. I’m talking about emails, social media messages, letters from any person or corporation. Stay in communication.

DRAFT/CANNED RESPONSES

5a. Never never never keep a draft communication for your replies, always make your communication personal. When ever you get an email from a customer or new potential customer, don’t send them a draft email. Read their communication, understand it and what ever you think write it in the reply. This shows you care about the customer and you’re actually interested in helping them.

SUPPORT YOUR CUSTOMER

6. Do what you can to support your customer’s business. Attend a business event they have. Or refer a friend to them, share their social media content etc.

BE PERSONABLE

7. It only takes a few minutes to ask someone about their weekend. There’s no harm in asking your clients about how their families are doing or what they’ve been up to. People love to talk about themselves and customers will be far more willing to approach a business which is easy to engage conversation with.

DON’T SUGAR COAT ANYTHING

8. Don’t sugar coat anything. Always be very straight forward in your communication. Answer questions directly and honestly.

KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS INFORMED

9. Update your customers on your progress. Keep in touch with them, make sure you contact them first, don’t wait for them to ask you about progress.

OFFER FREE INFORMATION

10. This helps you establish yourself as more of an expert in your field or niche. Create a blog, when sending out pamphlets maybe leave a sort “How To” article or maybe even leave in some trivia in your promotions. Chappie (popular bubble gum manufacturer in South Africa) would print interesting trivia on the inside of their wrappers and kids loved reading these.

FOLLOW UP ON YOUR CUSTOMERS

11. Make an effort to follow up on clients you have served. Once you’ve completed a project or service for a client, follow up within a week or so. Maybe you did plumbing work for a customer, maybe call them back and ask them if the plumbing is all working fine and that there are no leaks. For web designers call your clients and ask if the website is fully functional. This shows that you actually care about the service you gave them.

PRESENT SOLUTIONS

12. If you bump into any problem in your work environment always present a solution, no matter what. When you don’t offer exactly what a customer is looking for perhaps offer an alternative service you do have. If that doesn’t work refer them to someone else, people will remember you for that.

These are great tips that I have found to work in my business, there many other ways to maintain customer satisfaction but applying the above day to day will definitely help. Remember you can’t satisfy everyone, but most will be satisfied if you apply the above.

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