According to customer service studies by marketing gurus of the world, here are the following qualities, which must be present in your life and your business in order to develop raving fan customers who are not just satisfied but completely loyal to you over the long haul.
1. People want you to show an interest in their lives.
You not only know about their business, you know about their families, the hobbies they enjoy, and their life experiences. You know when they have had a win or a wow in their business, the birth of a new child, or a milestone celebration around the corner.
2. People want you to be quick!
People want their products and services yesterday, not tomorrow or 3 - 4 days down the road. In today's fast paced world, if you take more than 24 hours to respond to a request from a client, there is a very likely chance that he/she will find someone else to take your place. These are no longer the days of the Pony Express. These are the days of overnight service by Fed Ex, Palm Pilots that call personal messaging systems, high speed internet connections, and fax machines galore. Be quick and be energetic, or you will fall behind in a flash.
3. People want you to be very available.
People are tired of automated message machines or the words "Press 1 for Bob Smith, press 2 for customer service, press 3 if you speak Spanish?press 4 if you want to hire another company!" There is very little excuse for not being available. Provide your customers with your business phone, mobile phone, fax machine, e-mail address, and your physical mailing address. If you live alone, work out of your home and don't want to share your home office address, then get a P.O. Box. Your customers want to know that they can reach you when there is a problem or a concern with their product or service.
4. People want a friendly voice and a warm smile.
The first rule of customer service when you meet any person or when you answer the phone is to grin from ear to ear. If you are not smiling, this will come across over the phone and will definitely be seen and noticed in public, so get busy being happy when you are out and about and when you are engaging in a phone conversation. If you have a virtual company, put a fun photograph or a 5 x 7 card on your desk that says "Smile?Today is a great day."
5. People would rather you under promise and over deliver.
Customers never forget a mistake or your delaying their product or service. If you promise something on Friday, and you deliver it the next Tuesday, they will tell the world about you?in reverse referral. They will tell the whole city that you were late, and there won't be one thing you can do to reverse the negative publicity around your delay. Do not make promises that you cannot fulfill. Llet the customer know that you will get them their product or service beyond the time that you know you can actually make it happen. When they receive it early, they will be pleasantly surprised, and will tell the world how wonderful and quick you are!
6. People want you to help them?they don't want to be sold.
Hey folks?people do not like pushy people. Your job as a business owner is to continue to add value to the lives of your clients without pushing a new product, service, or extra fee on them before they are ready. The bottom line: Don't be a pushy pest! It will drive folks away in a heartbeat.
7. People want to hear you say "Yes, I can do that."
People don't want to hear dumb excuses. Customers and clients of today are smart and savvy, and when they call for help, the last thing they want to hear is:
"That's not my job."
"I can't answer that, because I don't know the answer."
"Can I put you on hold?"
"My policy does not allow for that."
"I'm sorry...that is the best I can do. I am only human."
And the frustration begins to build.
People don't want to hear your problems. They want their problems fixed. There is always some sort of solution, even if you cannot fix the problem! You will win points forever with comments like:
"You are absolutely right. I will get the answer to your problem by the end of the day."
"I thank you for your concerns. I am going to incorporate your idea as a way so that it works for us all."
"This is Sally Jones. How may I help you today?"
"I do not provide that service, but I have 15 people on my team who do work with that. May I refer you to one of these men or women?"
8. People want to know that you are highly trained and skilled.
Are you continuing your training? Are you working with a coach? If not, your customers will know it in a heartbeat. Your clients want to know that you are on the cutting edge and that you are constantly devoted to the highest level of learning and training made available. To begin with, get the training?incorporate training monthly, then let your clients know what you are learning. You can show your clients how you continue your training through monthly announcements in your newsletter, e-mails about your schedule, and through blogging.
9. People want you to drop the "nit picking."
If you are charging nickels and dimes for added extras such as an additional ten minutes on the phone or for each document you send a client, you will be viewed as "cheap," and this will leave a bad taste in the mouths of your clients. Remember?these nickel and dime expenses can add value to the lives of your clients and will create walking billboards for your business.
10. People want to hear the magic words "Thank-you."
This is music to a client's ears. Say it with sincerity, and say it often. Your clients are allowing you to own and operate and business and to earn money doing it, so thank them again and again for what they add to your life.
? Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith & Bea Fields
Alicia Smith is a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping coaches to Make Money Now. This article is derived from just one of the 90 lessons contained in her e-course, 90-Day Marketing Marathon. To learn more about that course and her other products and services, please visit the following sites. (You also can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org)