Successful companies place great emphasis on developing enduring relationships with their customers. That’s because they know that customers are aggressively prospected and loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Customer focused companies understand that relationship building and follow on service are critical components for promoting both customer retention and revenue growth.
Good customer service actually generates opportunities. Sales professionals tend to view customer service as a burden that distracts them from the job in hand but the reality is that customer service provides opportunities for cross-selling, up selling and generating quality referrals.
Good customer service pivots on attention to detail and responsiveness, with customer satisfaction surveys suggesting that little things make all the difference. Taking this into account, it should come as no surprise that customer satisfaction surveys highlight unreturned phone calls and a failure to keep promises as the cardinal sins.
You should aim to surpass your customers' expectations; go the extra mile and you’ll turn your customers into brand champions willing to sing your praises from the rooftops. If you remember that referrals and follow on business are in proportion to the quality of service you offer you won’t go far wrong.
There are three key ways to ensure your service is remembered for all the right reasons:
First thing’s first, you need to make sure you under-promise and over-deliver. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and you’ll quickly build a reputation for reliability.
Secondly, as we’ve already established, it’s essential that you pay attention to the little things. Get in the habit of returning phone calls, e-mails and other correspondence quickly. Consider setting up a system tracking dates important for your contact – everybody likes to receive a surprise birthday card and it’s more than acceptable to send a personal note or article of interest every six months or so. You can even send them a promotional gift – a letter opener, coffee mug or calendar with your contact details on it.
Finally, establish a feedback system to keep track of how your initiatives are working out. Service is not defined by how your customers perceive its value. By continuously monitoring customer satisfaction and striving to increase it, you’ll soon be forging ahead of the competition.