Four Ways to Enhance Your Customer Service Plan
I wrote earlier about how one key to building a solid client service plan is to decide what your vision is.
Here we’ll talk about the second step in taking your satisfied clients and turning them into raving fans. You have to know what your clients want. When you know who your clients are, you will know better how to serve them. Understanding the demographics are really important here. A higher income earning woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working-class man in his 50’s.
There are four areas you want to consider and think about when figuring out what your clients want:
- Listen to Your Clients
- Ask Your Clients Sincerely
- Offer More than Just a Product/Service
- Know When to Ignore Them
These are all important when deciding what your clients want out of their experience with you.
Listen to Your Clients
You want to listen not only to what is said but also to what is not said. Clients often say they want one thing and really want something else. For example, if your clients are asking for lower prices, you may discover that their real need is a low-risk engagement.
Also, listen to your “quiet” clients. These are the ones that don’t bother to complain because they feel that the service was so bad they’ve just given up. Or, don’t feel like their voice matters. A way to do this is to survey clients or check in after a service delivery to ensure they are satisfied.
When clients say “fine” LOOK OUT. This is typically code for, “I don’t care enough to respond”.
Ask Your Clients Sincerely
People know what you’re thinking even if you don’t say it. I have a client that calls his client’s 2 – 3 days after service to ask how the product is working and how was their experience. Lately it has been via text as it gets a better response rate. Ask them questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Let them feel that you care!
Offer More than Just a Product/Service
Your clients are often looking for much more than a product or service, they are also looking for an experience. For many of my clients where they are technically very smart, this means learning how to use emotional intelligence to connect with clients. To allow their clients to “be heard” even when you already know the answer. This helps clients contribute to their solution.
Know When to Ignore Them
This sounds like it goes against providing good client service, but the reality is, you can’t give them everything and some people you cannot satisfy. This is where being clear on your niche, and how you serve them, is important. If you encounter a potential client that doesn’t fit your vision and the work that fits your superpower, they are not going to be happy. They will be happier somewhere else.
If you get stuck, take a tour of our resources, and let us help you through the process.
The Not so Secret… Secret to Business Success Part I
Customer service is important and can make or break your business. Consumers have less and less patience for lousy customer service and can easily get frustrated by waiting in long lines, punching endless buttons, or trying to get a live person on the line. Who thought CHAT was a good idea? Science has demonstrated that multi-tasking DOES NOT WORK. It delivers poor outcomes and actually impairs cognitive function.
If you want repeat business, you must ensure their experience meets and surpasses their expectation. When you do this, they will share it with their network. when you don’t they will also share it with their network.
Here are three (not so secret) secrets to good customer service. It helps when you decide what you want your customers to experience.
You are the leader of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business and that includes customer service. Here are three main goals you want to consider:
- You want it to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website, and other technology-based programs to help them shop. However, if you are going to use technology, make sure you design it with human interaction (not just tasks) in mind. A poorly designed call tree will lose you customers fast. A well designed one will win them.
- Conducting business with you should be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff should be knowledgeable, approachable, and patient. Make sure your staff can make decisions to solve customer problems. Your customers want to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and, in large part, the experience is more valuable than the product. You can get a steak in a number of places. Yet, the experience at Ruth Chris is different than the Golden Corral. To achieve this requires training, reinforcement, and accountability.
- Don’t just look at this as an expense to be minimized but an opportunity to optimize your customer experience. This shouldn’t be a question of expenses but making and keeping happy customers.
With these thoughts in mind, you also want to do a few things to make sure this idea sticks:
- Share your customer service vision with the rest of your team.
- Tie your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
- Track the level of customer service your staff is putting out. This is more than measuring call times, it is actually listening to the customer interactions.
- Know when you can ignore what your customers think that they want.
- Continuously focus on your goals.
Now that you know what you want, you can start thinking about how to meet those wants and create a positive customer service experience.
If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.
Educate Your Customers
Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!
Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.
Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:
- Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
- Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
- Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
- Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
- Quality product/service
- Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
- Offer subjects your customers find interesting
Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.
Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”
So, there it is! Remember, our FREE test drive can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.