I have worked in the service industry all my life. First being education, then retail and now software for the past few years.
Some of the experiences that I have learned during the past 14 years of customer services are jotted down below:
1. Customers demand respect – If you don’t respect your clients, your business won’t stay long. Respect includes:
Delivery on time. If the delivery is going to be late, give them proper notice and apologize and offer something extra.
Polite behavior. This includes proper eye contact and greetings and asking them how you can help.
Prompt and efficient service. Do not keep them waiting and if the line is long, make them smile by engaging in small talk.
Acknowledgement of the customer concerns and prompt address. If they have a complaint, get it addressed and show empathy.
2. Customers demand value at a fair price. Unless your business is a monopoly, you will have a lot of competitors and you can’t get customers by selling at higher prices. So you need to offer them a fair price but more important is offer them value and a better service.
3. Repeat customers are your major business . If you retain customers, you won’t have to actively search for new clients each month and your business will carry along like lifelong annuity pension as long as you service them correctly.
4. Customers are your outsourced marketing and sales staff. – Happy and satisfied clients are your free marketing staff who spread the word. So value them.
5. Clients can accept mistakes so long as you acknowledge them and address them.
6. Clients need empathy. Put yourself in their shoes and then think and act.
7. Clients don’t like to be treated as fools. You can sell in the short term by fooling somebody but you can’t fool everybody all the time.
8. A customer is not bothered by what all is going in you internal life or company so you have to Smile and listen always without reacting.
9. Customers are the one of the two pillars of business. The other being employees . Keep both happy and you will have a flourishing empire.
Business is all about relationships and we need to keep building and nurturing them.