If you stay up all hours of the night, eating all the energy foods you can find to be more productive, and you’re still getting bad reviews about your business, it’s time to stop banging your head against the wall and take action. Not surprisingly, poor customer experiences result in an estimated $83 billion loss by U.S.companies each year because customers stop shopping with a company or abandon their purchases. There’s lots written about customer service for retail companies, but it’s just as important for service providers. Here are the top three warning signs you aren’t providing your clients with good customer service.
Warning Sign 1
You’re not meeting client deadlines. If you’re even one day late meeting a client’s deadline, what does that immediately tell your client? That you don’t care and the client is not important enough to your business.
Take a good look at your workload before you give a client a delivery date. If you don’t think you can make a deadline, outsource part or all of the project. Even if you lose a little money by outsourcing, you know the client is more likely to come back again if you deliver on time.
Warning Sign 2
You’re letting all calls go to voice-mail. If a client is actually taking the time to call you by phone (yes, it sounds so antiquated) then the person really wants to hear a live voice. Otherwise, they would have just emailed you.
1. Sign up with a phone answering service or hire a part-time college student to screen your calls.
2. A cheaper solution is to record a detailed message that gives your caller options to find out the information they are looking for. Always give the caller a chance to talk to you right away if it’s an emergency.
3. Have two different phone numbers: one for current important clients and one for potential clients.
Warning Sign 3
You can’t answer emails in a timely fashion.
Respond to all email within 24 hours—sooner if it’s an urgent question. There are many email organization apps out there you can download and use. Make sure you separate your personal accounts from business accounts. If you subscribe to business newsletters, those should go to a separate email inbox. If you get really behind, create an auto-response telling clients to call you instead, or letting them know when you believe you’ll be able to respond. Most clients will understand when you get busy and behind on email, but eventually they will move on if they don’t get the customer service they expect.
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