Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Keys To Customer Service

One of the keys to customer service is developing long-term relationships with customers. Here are a few rules to help you exceed your customers' expectations and build long-term relationships:
Deliver on your promises and always be honest. We always want to please our customers. Sometimes this means jumping through hoops to get something done. But if a customer requests something that really is a stretch for your company, you are not doing your customer a favor by promising something you can't deliver.
Follow up on your promises immediately. People are looking for reliability and service and are willing to pay for it. Don't disappoint your customers with weak follow-up. Your business is only as good as your credibility. You are in business because of your customers, so they should be your No. 1 priority.
Find out what customers need. Always look for ways to improve, expand or change your products or services in order to meet the changing needs of your customers.
Go above and beyond your customers' expectations. Many business owners think if they keep offering more than the customer expects, then the customer will always expect more than promised. This is not true. A small extra has a large impact. It could be as small as waiving your shipping costs, delivering a product a day early or delivering a quantity of products larger than ordered. Your message to your customer is that you value the relationship.
Be creative in your relationship building. There are many times you can send a client something that may have nothing to do with your business but that the client would really appreciate. You can send articles of interest, or forward direct mail for a product or service they might find useful. You can even send lunch to a client and his staff. None of these deeds is business-related, but each can increase the value of your business relationship.