Customer Service – What’s it all about?
At M.B Secretarial Services, our business is built around customer services more than most. As a completely virtual company, almost all our dealings with customers is done by phone or internet, so communicating clearly to customers in a way that makes them understand you’re meeting their needs is priority number one.
It might mean something very different depending on the industry you’re in however, no matter what industry it is, the fact remains the lifeblood of your business is your customers. You might have a lot or a few of them, but they’re all going to believe they’re the only customer you have and will expect to be treated accordingly.
How you manage to meet those expectations, regardless of your customer base size, is the secret ingredient of customer service. As the recent award winner for Service Excellence, Crow Awards 2013, we like to think we know and understand something about serving customers, so read on, and skip the hard work we’ve already done for you.
Active listening is an important business communication skill which requires the listener to understand, interpret and paraphrase what has been said. Something your client says might seem silly or unimportant to you but don’t be dismissive or override what your customer wants. If they’ve said it, it’s important to them, and no matter how relevant you think it is, giving your customer what they ask for is paramount to satisfying them.
That said, be confident enough to suggest a change or different approach, particularly with a new customer who might not be used to doing things the best way.
Get into the habit of being – and presenting yourself as – trustworthy in all your dealings. It will show to everyone, and customers will feel much more comfortable with you.
As your client’s business needs change, so will yours. Be ready to shift gears, change/re-evaluate a process or help them consolidate projects when they need you to.
Take a lead role and suggest changes where you see them. Consider the client the project, not individual tasks or assignments.
Scope a project out completely, figure out how long it will take you and factor it into your current workload – it can be particularly hard to estimate if you in turn have to wait for action from somebody else.
Once again, there’s nothing your client wants to hear less on the delivery date than ‘I ran out of time’.
Updates and Feedback
Don’t disappear to do the work once they’ve signed on the dotted line. Be responsive if they ask for updates, and if they don’t – be responsive then too.
If you have any inkling there’s a problem or a delay, be up front and honest. Time to work with you to get things right will be far more palatable for your customer than being advised on the due date that you can’t deliver.
Even if you could hardly drag yourself out of bed this morning, be enthusiastic and pleasant in all your customer dealings.
They might have a bad day too, but if you make it a little bit easier for them, it’s a detail about dealing with you they’ll file away next time they need work done.
Be passionate about your business. Love what you do. If you do, it’ll show – and it’s infectious.
Your goals are their goals
Keep one eye on your customer’s business and what they want to achieve. That’s your ambition as well because if you adopt it and live by it, your customer will consider you an essential part of their team.
Once you’ve got the above down pat, what’s in it for you?
Your customer will quickly consider what you do as an essential part of their business. If their business changes, they’ll be looking for a reason to keep using you – the biggest secret of customer service is that all commerce is about relationships, and if people like you, they’ll want to work with you.
Your customers will be loyal to you, so repeat business will increase, bad experiences (both yours and theirs) will be kept to a minimum and whenever their networks and colleagues ask if they know someone who can perform transcriptions, document formatting, or proofreading, M.B. Secretarial Services you’ll be the first person they think of.