Next up for our Summer Thought Leadership Series, Greg Stewart, co-founder of NexGen Management, LLC shares with us a few key points on customer service and how central it is to the success of our businesses. Read on to find out what small changes you can be making to create lasting relationships with your clients.
Customer Service is a Key Component to a Successful Company
By Greg Stewart
Co-Founder of NexGen Management, LLC
Customer service applies to everyone in your company — from the front desk, to your most seasoned staff member, to the junior staff member who is still figuring out the difference between talking with a customer and talking with a college friend, and to you, the business owner. All of us can benefit from improving our focus and skills on our customers.
Here are a few ways to Sharpen Customer Service Skills – and gain immediate results!
1. Look for ways to surprise your customers with an extra benefit or bonus to build real and lasting goodwill. Practice the “benevolent ambush” don’t be pushy or phony!
A few tips to try include:
– Remembering birthdays, children’s names and similar details about a client’s life outside of your business relationship
– A random percent off (%) coupon sent via email once or twice per year to each customer
– A small gift for a referral client to thank them for recommending you
2. Allow some personality and informality to forge a stronger connection. Remember to keep it professional but not as formal. Customers appreciate any sense of connection with each passing year. Since appropriately informal speech implies that friendly connection, it has been found to be more effective than traditional communication.
As an example, after reading these two brief email responses, which one do you think makes the stronger connection?
a) “Hello. This message is to confirm your order for Widget #34687. It should ship within three business days. Please call 888-776-4342 to confirm shipping or report problems.”
b) “Hi. We wanted to thank you for ordering Widget #34687 today. We hope you love it. Your Widget should arrive in three business days, but please feel free to reach out to us at 888-776-4342 if you have any questions or concerns.”
Try it on your customers and see what reaction you get!
3. Improve communications with your customers. Encourage your team members to engage at a more personal level with their customers, but remember keep it professional as it doesn’t mean having no guidelines at all.
To do this, give your staff clear decision trees that guide them through the most common interactions they’ll have with a customer. They’ll follow that guide, but add the personal flair that fosters those closer connections.
The guide will also serve as a framework to help them find solutions to unique challenges that show up in even the most predictable business and help improve your customer’s satisfaction with your firm.
4. Communicate and Follow-up with your customers. A customer you don’t follow up with is a customer who won’t follow you. By taking time to make a personalized connection after the sale, you increase the chances of repeat business exponentially. A few opportunities for following up with customers include:
- A day or two after making the sale
- Every quarter, “just because”
- Holidays and birthdays
- The anniversary of the client’s first meeting
- When news items or updates on LinkedIn remind you or identify something about the client
It is important to sharpen you and your team’s customer service skills every chance you get. The real power of these customer service tips comes when you use them.
Greg Stewart is a resident of Flanders NJ, the co-founder and President of NexGen Management, LLC., co-chair of the Leadership Morris Alumni Council, Trustee & Past-President of the Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Board of Directors with the ECHS Foundation and the Hackettstown Regional Medical Center Foundation. In 2016 he was elected to serve the people of Mount Olive Township as a Councilman.
Greg is a hands-on Business Adviser and Executive Coach who works with business owners to help them attain the goals and objectives of their business so they can manage the business and not have it manage them. He specializes in working with entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers who are frustrated with the performance and operation of their business.
NexGen Management, LLC
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