Like most consumers, I sometimes need to call a provider to straighten up a problem I´m having with their service. Unfortunately, I am also a victim of bad customer service. I won´t bore you with the details but my experience got me to thinking of my own customer service efforts. Which by the way is a form of telemarketing (any time you market your product/service via telephone its considered telemarketing). Let´s stop and think about this for a second. Customer service is about making certain that your customers are happy in the hopes that they will continue doing business with you. Small business owners get this point because without these customers, they won´t grow. When I first began in this business, the question "how can I help you?" was more than a greeting. It meant something. To me it still does. While it´s easy to assume your customers are happy there are a few tips to consider to make sure that they´re happy. And trust me, these are tips we all should remember (including me).
How often do you check in with customers to see how a project is going?
How often do you check with customers to see if they are still happy with your service or product?
Do you contact customers after a contract is complete to follow up on the job? This is to make certain they are happy but also to determine if they have need for more of your services?
Do you offer discounts to repeat customers?
How many of your customers are actually repeat customers?
Do you actually care if your customers are happy or in it for the money? Sounds strange I know but you´d be amazed at the number of business owners (large and small) who could care less if a problem is solved to the customers´ satisfaction. Bringing in the dollars can often overshadow even the best of companies. I am usually appalled by the lack of empathy I receive"?¦.until it´s time to pay the bill. Don´t make the same mistake.
How about your staff? Are they apathetic or empathetic to your customers needs? More often than not, when I call with a problem the rep on the other line is only interested in getting me off the line and not helping me solve the problem.
How much of a direct line do you have with understanding your customer´s needs? In other words, if I call a rep and complain about a problem they can´t solve, I would almost hope that a manager or someone with authority would call me to see if they can rectify the situation. I will almost certainly do business with the firm that works to keep my business. However too often I hear the rep say,"I´m sorry we couldn´t solve your problem today". And that unfortunately is the end of that. What I´m suggesting is to be sure you review customer complaints personally to determine if the problem was solved or dismissed. It can not only save you money but also make money for you.
More tips tomorrow
Tony Wilkins is the owner of Telemarketing Consulting Services and author of "Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms´ available in most bookstores and online at www.amazon.com and www.xlibris.com you may also find out about his workshops and services at
http://stores.ebay.com/telemarketing-success via e: mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 415-267-4872 .If you´d like to be notified of a new posting for this column, please contact Tony Wilkins at email@example.com