Customer Service: New Year, Same Old Service?

As you get ready to take on the new year, make sure you take the time to reflect back on the level of customer service that you have been offering to your clients. Far too often, small businesses claim to have superior customer service but fall short of actually standing out from their competition. But why? Most clients value the customer service component as an integral part of the overall experience when purchasing a product or service. So, businesses need to spend more time re-evaluating this aspect of their product offering in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. Below are some basic elements that every firm can evaluate and improve upon in the coming year.

1.) Response Time
Prospects and clients perceive quality in different ways however, the response time to a phone call, email, RFP, etc can effect the overall perception of your company.

2.) Thank You
It’s easy to say “Thanks” nowadays in an email or text message or on the phone. However, the classic “Thank You” card is a nice touch that can set you apart from your tweeting competition. The cost of a stamp shouldn’t stop you on this one!

3.) Communication
Commit to communicate in 2011. Clients like feedback AND they like to give it… SO ASK!

4.) Organize Your CRM Tool
The beginning of each year is a great time to fill in the gaps on your customer database (if you keep one… if not, that’s another blog). Not everyone can recall their pets name or favorite coffee order by memory, that is what the CRM is for – so update it and get back in tune with your client.

5.) Listen!
The best advice I ever received when it comes to customer service is to simply listen. Most often times, clients will convey their points of pain in many different ways. It is up to you to listen to the client and respond to their needs even if this means telling them that you do not offer a product or service that addresses a certain point of pain. They will be grateful and appreciative of your personal relationship and willingness to lend an ear.

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