Roger Kahn of Champion Office Suites on "What Good Customer Service Means to Your Clients"
Do you provide a totally unique product or service with little or no competition, or do you serve up ordinary deliverables to a market crowded with competition?
With just a few keystrokes, your clients and business prospects are able to identify qualified resources ready and able to execute their work. The digital revolution has made the ability to stand out and differentiate all the more difficult; in this sea of competition, however, impeccable customer service can help to set you apart.
Everyone says that they provide good customer service, but do they? Does their self-assured "great customer service" produce lifelong raving fans? Do they walk the talk?
Customer service tactics may differ from industry to industry, but there are certain inviolable characteristics that must remain firm. Companies that set the gold standard for providing excellent customer service follow these core principles:
They consistently exceed client expectations
The first rung on the customer service ladder of success is meeting customer expectations. To truly stand apart from the competition, though, companies must exceed expectations-not just in the core areas of business but in the "little things" as well. These include being on-time, on or under budget, and level of quality of the product or service being provided.
They keep clients in the loop
Fact: clients don't like surprises. It's a far better strategy to be proactive with project-related information rather than waiting for them to find out by themselves. This is true even when the information is positive, such as when a project will be executed before the expected due date or the budget came in lower than expected. While these are positive situations clients still prefer to be informed ahead of time and not be caught off guard.
They respect and appreciate a client's business
Feeling appreciated and well-respected respect is something all people need. The Internet is rife with stories where clients have unfortunately felt that the company with whom they were doing business abused them. Attention must be paid to establishing company policies and procedures that are "customer- centric" and which enable positive customer experiences across all channels, including in-person, telephone, email or direct mail. Customer-facing employees should receive ongoing customer service training so they can retain, sharpen, and expand the required service-oriented skills and attitude which may become stale over time.
Customer service notwithstanding, it goes without saying that the product or service you provide must be able to stand on its own merits since excellent customer care alone cannot ensure client satisfaction and loyalty. Put together, high quality offerings with top notch customer service will help you to create a solid and profitable business.
Sincerely, Roger Kahn