An effective customer service plan isn’t an optional part of a salesperson’s job. Honestly, it’s the dividing line between the greats and the mediocre. Here are some tips based on Nathan Resnick’s article, “The 6 Keys to Quality Customer Service,” that will help you be on the right side of that line.
There are so many people out there telling us to go above and beyond for our clients. As a result, we sometimes spend so much time brainstorming extra things we could do that we aren’t as diligent with our basic responsibilities. Don’t start looking so far ahead that you forget the present. Provide your clients with everything you promised them upfront and do so effectively and in a timely manner. The basics are important too.
Now, that doesn’t mean to not go above and beyond when you can. It not only shows your client that you care, but there is also an increased probability of reciprocity. Which client do you think would be more willing to fill out a survey or buy from your company more frequently: someone you just do the basics for or someone whose expectations are exceeded? So, send that unexpected congratulatory email when your client's company achieves something and/or that small, thoughtful gift on their birthday. It will pay off.
Don’t make your clients do more work than they need to, especially when something goes wrong or you’re asking for a favor. Resnick’s examples include providing a shipping label for your clients when they need to return something. The fewer steps your clients have to take to resolve an issue, the happier they will be. Also, if you’re asking them to take an online survey, don’t just tell them it’s on your company’s website and then leave them to stumble around looking for it. Send them a link directly to it. No one is going to want to do you a favor if it takes up too much of their time. A bad experience may even make them less inclined to provide you with feedback in the future, regardless of whether or not you make the form easily available to them. The importance of ease of service cannot be over exaggerated.
There may come a time when, no matter what you do, a client will seem inconsolable. They may call you and yell and refuse to listen to what you have to say for a few minutes. You have to realize that they need to blow off some steam. Don’t take it personally, let them finish uninterrupted, and whatever you do, do not try to blame them or say something else that will do nothing more than feed the fire. Letting a client get everything off their chest is a good way to get them to calm down a little (hey, exhaustion counts) and more willing to listen to your plan of action once they know that you’ve listened to everything they have to say.