Operations Planner
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Service Strategies #76-95

publication date: Apr 17, 2013
author/source: Carol Roth blog, as submitted by Bill Todd


76. Don't Be a Stranger!

In a world where everything seems to be getting bigger and more impersonal, people crave contact that makes them feel valued. Try and build positive relationships from the get-go. Get to know your customers by asking them what is going on in their world. Then check in with them every once in a while. Try and remember to ask them something that demonstrates you remember what they told you about their world. It can make all the difference in the world because it shows you genuinely care.
Thanks to: Debra Brown of MobilizeUs.


77. Fine Tune Your Follow Up

Many people think “the fortune is in the follow up" is following up on a sales lead. The true fortune lies within the follow up after the initial sale is made. A series of creative follow up touches seals not only the deal at hand but future deals as well. Thank you notes, gifts, a visit/call to check in, a customer appreciation event (hint: not a disguised sales pitch) are ideas. Let the client know they are valued & thought of long after the initial check has been deposited in your account.
Thanks to: Teresa Cleveland of Empowered Awareness.


78. Answer the Unasked Question

Let your customers know what they should know before they know they need to know it. You are the expert in your field. You know all the ins and outs and what is important. Your experience is what sets you apart from others who offer services similar to yours. If you have some hints to help them accomplish their goal easier, share them. The good will created by solving the unspoken problem is invaluable!
Thanks to: CJ Modisette of Fox Inspection Group.


79. Surpass Their Expectations

As soon as you have your carpet cleaned, somebody tracks something in
or the dog throws up. We come back and clean it for FREE... why? Because it completely surpasses the customers' expectations! Word of mouth advertising is as good as gold. How do you get customers to talk about your service? Customers will talk about your business if you do a lousy job or if you exceed their expectations. Re-cleaning a spot for free... even weeks after the service always makes an impression!
Thanks to: Karen Herring of STEAMEX.


80. NAMES Lead to FAME and Fortune

One way for your business to grow is to enhance your relationship with your current client base. Whenever possible, use their NAME when addressing them. Instead of "How can I help you?" say "Mary, so nice to see you again. How can I help you today?" Also make reference to their family members. Take a personal interest in them and your business will stand out from all the others that may be pitching the same product/service to your client.
Thanks to: John DiPietro of Advanced Business Concepts/DiPietro.


81. Speed Kills

It's simple - when people write you, answer them. Fast. Customers are never as impressed as when you jump for their business. It's sad, but we've come to expect misery when we contact companies. And while you wait, you just know that someone is getting an answer before you, another customer is more important and maybe, just maybe, they're playing ping pong before getting to your email. Nothing is as good as getting an actual (human) response in 15 minutes. Now THAT'S a company that values me.
Thanks to: Ross Kimbarovsky of crowdSPRING.


82. What's that Ringing Sound?

This seems ridiculously remedial in a world of savvy marketing techniques, but if I can offer one tip on bringing customers back it would be this: answer the phone. Or at least return calls and emails promptly (within 24 hours, not 24 days). Stop surfing your messages looking for the hottest prospect or the most urgent customer question. Use the manners your mother taught you and RESPOND to everyone. Consider it your thank-you note for their gift of inquiry. Simple. And it works.
Thanks to: Abby Sims of Mid-America Arts Alliance.


83. Cash in on Your Promotions

Educate your staff about current promotions.

I can't tell you how many times I go to use a coupon or shop a special event a business is supposed to be having, only to find out the staff has no idea about it. It's frustrating for customers and leaves a negative feeling about the business.

Business owners need to educate their staff about their current promotions. Otherwise they're just wasting their advertising dollars.
Thanks to: Christina Gray, Marketing Consultant.


84. A Customer is Not a Customer

A customer is not a customer until the SECOND time they buy from you. The first time they are merely a TRIAL USER.

The importance of this tip is that it helps ensure you think through the post-purchase and user experience aspects of your sale. Unless the customer is happy and, at a minimum, satisfied they will not return. Customer service MUST CONTINUE after the sale, otherwise it is not outstanding!
Thanks to: Steven Howard of Howard Marketing Services.


85. Remember Who is Important.

My one best tip for creating the ultimate customer service experience is to build an intimate relationship with the client by actively listening and remembering what they have told you and incorporate it into your business relationship.
Thanks to: Evan Shorten, CFP® of Paragon Financial Partners.


86. The Forgotten Customer

When seeking to provide outstanding customer service, consider your employees as your first line of customers. I consider the customer transaction to be an exchange of value, their money for my offering. The same could be said of your employees. They exchange their time for your money, an exchange of value.

If you value your employees as you would your ultimate customer, your customers will feel that transfer of value. Feeling valued is what outstanding customer service is all about.
Thanks to: Anthony Manganiello of Centricity, Inc..


87. Smile and Use Their Name

The simplest tip to providing outstanding customer service is to smile and use their name – people love to hear their name. They can be addressed as Mr. Smith or Joe Smith, and you can detect a smile over the phone just as much as you can in person. It makes people quickly feel important and valued, and puts a personalized touch on customer service.
Thanks to: Dianne Durkin,Founder, of Loyalty Factor, LLC.


88. Offer Golden Customer Service

The secret to providing excellent customer service is as simple as following the Golden Rule: Treat your customers with the respect you deserve and expect from others. It's a proven fact that satisfied customers tend to recommend to friends businesses that treat them respectfully.

Train your employees (and yourself) to treat customers with proper business etiquette. When hiring, look for applicants who dress properly, communicate well, make eye contact and smile. They're golden.
Thanks to: Kathie Martin, APR of The Etiquette School of Birmingham.


89. Tomorrow is Today

Not only fulfill the clients' (customers') PRESENT needs beyond expectation but also consistently anticipate and be ready to fulfill the clients' FUTURE needs, and with options/choices. Always think and prepare one step or steps ahead. This strategy has proven to cement customer loyalty and makes our services invaluable to the client.
Thanks to: Sheryl Kurland of Patient Advocates Of Orlando.


90. Be proactive

RESOLVE COMPLAINTS TO EVERYONE'S SATISFACTION. Be proactive in solving customer complaints. Put it in writing and don't consider it solved until the customer has signed off on it.
Thanks to: Matt Colligan of Champion Windows - Colorado Springs.


91. How to Create a WOW Experience

Your customers can't NOT have an experience, it will be WOW, Bland or UGH! Here are 3 quick tips to create a WOW experience that delivers a perception of great service:
1. Create the right physical environment to engage all senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, touch
2. Identify the desired emotional outcome: love, joy, surprise, anger, sadness, fear (yes, even fear for a scary movie!)
3. Empower employees to use ingenuity to create the emotional outcome, even if the customer is in a bad mood
Thanks to: Anne C. Graham of The Legendary Value Institute.


92. Your Coach and a Movie

For my Full Contact Coaching clients I gift them each month with a specific book that I believe will help them personally or with their business. However, I like to "shake it up" and make things different. One month I selected the DVD movie, Mr. Holland's Opus and mailed it to them along with a bag of microwavable popcorn and a note reminding them that in spite of what happens in their life and world, they do indeed make a difference...just as did Mr. Holland as a music teacher.
Thanks to: Dr. Ron Arndt of THE DENTAL COACH.


93. Service IS Personal!

There are 2 kinds of consultants in this world - the ones who see sales and dollar signs and the ones who view their work as a service that meets the needs of others. Focus on their needs, not yours, and take the time to find out who your clients are as human beings. It sounds so simple, yet many do not take the time to do it! We can't create powerful experiences if we do not know our customers!
Thanks to: Deborah Darlington of InspirationInProgress, LLC.


94. The Anniversary Advantage

I ask my clients when they were married. They often know I'm asking to put it into my contact manager, but they always respond. When I call to wish them a Happy Anniversary, I ask what they're doing to celebrate. Usually, they have reservations for dinner at a favorite restaurant. My next call is to the restaurant to order a bottle of champagne. My gift appears shortly after they arrive. "We didn't order this" they'll say. "But it's been taken care of by Sandy" will be the response.
Thanks to: Sandy Schussel of Brass Ring Coaching.


95. How to Win and Keep Customers

Here is the number one secret I have used to build auto repair business's that works like magic. Get outside of yourself and put yourself into the shoes of your customer or prospect. Every person has an inherent need to feel cared about. Make them feel that you care about their needs and you will win them for life, and they will tell their family and friends. You must be sincere, and it takes practice, but it will build your business every time.
Thanks to: Les Schmidt of Les Schmidt Coaching/Consulting.

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