Relationship Marketing is key to your business
strategy. Use these resources to learn why it is important and
how you can improve the service you provide your customers and
8 Rules For Good Customer Service
By Susan Ward
Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You
can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new
customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those
customers to come back, your business wont be profitable
for long. Good customer service is all about bringing customers
back. And about sending them away happy happy enough
to pass positive feedback about your business along to others,
who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves
and in their turn become repeat customers.
If youre a good salesperson, you can sell anything to
anyone once. But it will be your approach to customer service
that determines whether or not youll ever be able to sell
that person anything else. The essence of good customer service
is forming a relationship with customers a relationship
that that individual customer feels that he would like to pursue.
How do you go about forming such a relationship? By remembering
the one true secret of good customer service and acting accordingly;
You will be judged by what you do, not what you say.
I know this verges on the kind of statement thats often
seen on a sampler, but providing good customer service IS a
If you truly want to have good customer service, all you have
to do is ensure that your business consistently does these things:
1) Answer your phone.
Get call forwarding. Or an answering service. Hire staff if
you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone
when someone calls your business. (Notice I say someone.
People who call want to talk to a live person, not a fake
recorded robot.) For more on answering the phone, see
Phone Answering Tips to Win Business.
2) Dont make promises unless you WILL keep them.
Not plan to keep them. Will keep them. Reliability is one of
the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service
is no exception. If you say, Your new bedroom furniture
will be delivered on Tuesday, make sure it is delivered
on Tuesday. Otherwise, dont say it. The same rule applies
to client appointments, deadlines, etc.. Think before you give
any promise because nothing annoys customers more than
a broken one.
3) Listen to your customers.
Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what
you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that
person hasnt been paying attention and needs to have it
explained again? From a customers point of view, I doubt
it. Can the sales pitches and the product babble. Let your customer
talk and show him that you are listening by making the appropriate
responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem.
4) Deal with complaints.
No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed
a reflex shrug, saying, You cant please all the
people all the time. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint
your attention, you may be able to please this one person this
one time - and position your business to reap the benefits of
good customer service.
5) Be helpful - even if theres no immediate profit in
The other day I popped into a local watch shop because I had
lost the small piece that clips the pieces of my watch band
together. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said
that he thought he might have one lying around. He found it,
attached it to my watch band and charged me nothing!
Where do you think Ill go when I need a new watch band
or even a new watch? And how many people do you think Ive
told this story to?
6) Train your staff (if you have any) to be ALWAYS helpful,
courteous, and knowledgeable.
Do it yourself or hire someone to train them. Talk to them about
good customer service and what it is (and isnt) regularly.
Most importantly, give every member of your staff enough information
and power to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so
he never has to say, I dont know, but so-and-so
will be back at...
7) Take the extra step.
For instance, if someone walks into your store and asks you
to help them find something, dont just say, Its
in Aisle 3. Lead the customer to the item. Better yet,
wait and see if he has questions about it, or further needs.
Whatever the extra step may be, if you want to provide good
customer service, take it. They may not say so to you, but people
notice when people make an extra effort and will tell other
8) Throw in something extra.
Whether its a coupon for a future discount, additional
information on how to use the product, or a genuine smile, people
love to get more than they thought they were getting. And dont
think that a gesture has to be large to be effective. The local
art framer that we use attaches a package of picture hangers
to every picture he frames. A small thing, but so appreciated.
If you apply these eight simple rules consistently, your business
will become known for its good customer service. And the best
part? The irony of good customer service is that over time it
will bring in more new customers than promotions and price slashing