I’m a great believer in the power of customer service and delivering above and beyond what is expected.
Over the last two months I have encountered customer service that lacks in the service element. One of which was a large multinational which I will not go in to, however, the other two were small local(ish) businesses. In both instances I had already decided to part with my hard earned cash, so they did not need to ‘sell’ their product or service to me it was a done deal… Well it would’ve been if they had responded to my phone call & emails.
These are businesses like mine who I would assume don’t have a huge marketing budget and should therefore appreciate how hard small businesses need to work for a sale. So you would think if they received a warm enquiry they would welcome it. Personally for me how my enquiry is dealt with sets a precedent on the service I am likely to expect.
Being a Virtual Assistant means that I meet, use and recommend services of other small businesses, considering it is my reputation on the line if I pass on details to my customers and contacts, I want to be certain that whoever I recommend has the same customer service standards as me or else it just undermines my reputation.
I’ve always believed that one of the major strengths of small businesses was treating customers as people rather than a number, so therefore in my opinion, it is vital to deliver high quality customer service.
I understand that when you are busy doing the work you can’t immediately respond to customers, if you don’t have the option to use virtual assistant services then here are my five tips to help you improve your customer’s experience (without costing a penny) ensuring that they remain loyal and recommend you to others:
1. Every customer deserves a response
You don’t have to reply straight away to emails or voicemails, nor in full, you can either check your emails twice a day & drop them a quick holding email e.g. ‘Thanks for your email, I’m away from the office at the moment but will respond to you as quickly as I can’ or to save yourself even more time adapt the out of office function on your email to say something similar and it will send automatically.
2. Collate information for efficiency
If you receive similar enquiries regularly why not document your information and send it? We use this regularly for information packs on the services we offer and FAQ’s. It’s a great way to ensure that your customers receive quality information & efficiently. If you can’t collate your information in to a document, how about saving some email templates that you can just copy & paste? Or set up some quick steps in outlook? We use email templates for responding on a customer’s behalf it saves a huge amount of time (and in turn their money).
3. Manage your customers’ expectations
I am a great believer in under promising and over delivering, make sure that if you are booking work in or are going to get back to somebody you give them a realistic time frame and then try & beat it. On too many occasions I have heard people say I’ll do it now, only to get caught up with another phone call or email which takes them away from what they have just promised. This has a negative impact on your customer, whereas saying I’ll get back to you by the end of the day, or you’ll have the quote by the end of the week & delivering earlier improves your credibility. (Tip – put it in your diary as a reminder). Not meeting deadlines is a sure way to lose your customers quickly.
4. Be Honest
If it goes wrong be honest & tell them, in my experience advising customers of a delay before they chase you has a much more positive outcome, they can change their plans accordingly & advise others if needed. Most people will understand, however, if they’ve been expecting delivery of a product or service and it doesn’t arrive I think it is wrong to expect them to be understanding, especially if you knew in advance.
5. Go the extra mile
This is a well known customer service mantra, but not always upheld. Although your customers may not thank you for it, they will notice it and in turn tell other people – for example 95% of our customers have come from referrals by current customers because they notice the extra little things that add additional value to the services we provide. What can you do to go the extra mile?
So there you have it, my five tips on increasing your customer service levels which in turn will be a key differentiator between you and your competition.
Can you afford to lose business due to poor customer service?
If you want to improve your customer service but earn more doing what you do best, then please contact us to see how we can help, I promise you’ll receive great customer service!