Delivering excellent customer service need not tie you up in knots. Here are 6 ways to quickly and easily upgrade your customer service:
Target a Niche
Occupying a niche means you won't be competing with a lot of similar businesses solely on price. And because you will be selling products and services that are customized to the specific needs and predispositions of a select group of people, you can often charge more. Your products and services serve a market that can't easily find alternatives. More about niche marketing here.
Connect with Your Community
Take a page from the original premium ice cream mavens Ben & Jerry. The original scoop shop became a community favorite thanks to its rich ice cream and creative flavors. Ben and Jerry also made it a point to connect with the community, hosting a free film festival and giving away free scoops on the first anniversary of the store, a tradition that still continues. In 1980, the duo began making pints to sell to local grocers. In 1981, they expanded this operation. More inspiration from Ben & Jerry.
Create a "Red Velvet Rope" Policy
The book Book Yourself Solid argues that it's essential for freelancers and consultants to create a "Red Velvet Rope" and be very selective about working with clients. Author Michael Port believes that having only "star clients" that inspire and energize your work will help you do the caliber of work that will help you attract more star clients. The solution is to separate your clients into three groups -- duds, mid-range and stars. Cut loose your dud clients, and decide if you can develop your mid-range clients into stars. Within the book is a series of exercises on deciding what exactly constitutes a "star" client for you.
Understand Your Customer Experience from the Inside
"Hire a secret shopper service to go through your customer experience periodically. Have customers complete surveys about shopping experiences. Have employees identify themselves by name (on the phone) and with badges (in person) so customers can remember them. And don't just spy on your employees. Reward great service and retrain those who aren't delivering it," writes Mitchell York. For other ways to keep customers coming back, click here.
Whip your Employees into Shape
Mitchell York reports the following: "My client's company has two floors in an office building, and reception is on the 3rd floor. His customer decided she'd like to see where her millions of dollars in purchases are going, so she made an appointment to visit. She went directly to the floor my client is on, the 2nd floor. When she arrived, there was no receptionist, because she was on the wrong floor (even though my client instructed her to go to reception on the 3rd floor). She roamed the halls and cubicles. No one got up from their desk to say, "May I help you?" It wasn't their job. Needless to say, this million-dollar customer wasn't very happy when she finally tracked down my client."
Find out how to avoid that mistake here.
Columbia Business School's David Rogers writes: "From smartphones to social networks, today's digital tools are helping your customers connect, create, and interact with each other on a global scale. This is changing your customers' relationships with each other, and with every business, no matter the size or industry. In the past, businesses relied on a broadcast model to influence customers with mass marketing, projected out one-way, to as many consumers as possible. To succeed today, businesses need a network model, one that takes advantage of customers' ability to engage, interact, and even collaborate with your organization and each other." Read more...