Let’s face it, the business world these days is fast-paced, stressful, high-pressured and leaves us all with days where lunch breaks are just a dream, which may cause top-notch customer service standards to slide. But there’s a big reason why no business should let that happen: customer service determines whether or not your clients will continue to do business with you and whether they may refer your business to others.
There are a number of customer service tactics that should always be practiced:
- Response time. You never know when a client is calling because of a time-sensitive issue and needs something from you right away. The longer the client waits, the more stressed, irritated and frustrated the client becomes, which doesn’t look good for your customer service abilities.
- Understanding the client’s business/needs. How are you supposed to provide customer service if you don’t even know what your client does? Learning the your client’s business (or understanding a customer’s most important needs) doesn’t only help you to understand what services/product to provide, but it also makes you the “expert” and the “go-to” person.
- Consistent updates/communication. Updating your clients and keeping them in the loop is greatly appreciated and builds trust in the relationship. Providing status updates keeps the client involved and ensures them that the project is moving along smoothly. If, for some reason, trouble arises, inform the client right away. This shows that you are in control of the project and allows the client to make any additional plans or changes to get the project back on track.
- Admit your mistakes. The reality is that we are all humans and mistakes happen, but that doesn’t mean we cover it up and hope the client doesn’t find out. Inform your client of the mistake, but also provide solutions on how to solve the situation. This demonstrates that you care about the project, taking the time and effort to brainstorm multiple answers to provide choices to the client for next steps. Not admitting your mistakes is a sure way of building a bad business reputation.
- Listen. Keep the communication doorways open. Make an effort to understand your client’s requests, and feedback. Also, if a client calls and is upset, stay calm; let them vent and don’t focus on the argument. Instead focus on the solution: After they are done speaking, try to reach an agreement. Most clients just need to be heard. Tip: If you smile while you are on the phone, you actually sound friendlier to the client and it is harder for you to come across irritated.
And one final tip: Happy employees equal happy clients. A majority of companies don’t realize that when their employees are unhappy, that tone carries through to their customer service. Clients can certainly sense a disgruntled employee or someone that isn’t happy with the company they work for.
To wrap it all up, remember that the client always comes first, keep a friendly demeanor, and go above and beyond for your clients.