How Would Your Customers Rate Your Service?
By John Boe
Monday, 12th April 2010
Rendering exceptional customer service is both a responsibility and a smart business decision, however unfortunately, far too many salespeople view customer service as an administrative burden that takes them away from making a sale.

The truth is, providing quality customer service presents tremendous opportunities for cross-selling, up selling and generating additional referrals. Dick Cavett once said, "It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear." If your clients were given a customer satisfaction survey, how would they rate the level of service they are receiving from you?

Customer feedback consistently points to the fact that the little things make a big difference. Quality customer service is typically defined in terms of attention to detail and responsiveness. Not surprisingly, the top two customer complaints with regards to customer expectations are unreturned phone calls and a failure to keep promises and commitments.

Successful salespeople place great value on developing lifetime relationships with their customers and always "go the extra mile" when providing service. In today's competitive marketplace, they are aware that their customers are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for granted.

Could you use a few more referrals? "Go the extra mile" when providing service and turn the customers you serve into advocates to help you promote your business. Your referrals and follow on business are in direct proportion to the quality and quantity of service you render on a daily basis.

When a customer begins a relationship with you, he or she brings to the table specific expectations. These expectations are primarily based on their past experiences as well as their perceptions of you, your product, and your company. It's critically important to take the time to ask open-ended questions and clarify what your customer expects. If they have false or unrealistic expectations, be clear with them upfront on the process and work with them to manage outcomes and set reasonable timelines.

How can you be sure that you customers are satisfied with your service? Just ask them. When it comes to customer service, perception is reality.

Service is not defined by what you think it is, but rather how your customers perceive its value. Knowing more about your customer's needs and expectations will allow you to customize the service you provide. If you don't already have a customer service feedback system in place, establish one to monitor how your customers perceive the service you provide. When it comes to impressing your customers, it's the personal touch that really makes the difference. Stay in contact and keep good records.

Take the time to jot down notes from meetings and phone calls making certain to record all relevant information. Maintain a written record of service. This is especially helpful when clients are reassigned. It's a good idea to setup a suspense system to track important contact dates such as client review calls and birthdays. Consider sending a personal note or an article of interest every six months.

Relationship building and follow on service are critical components for promoting both customer retention and revenue growth. Salespeople that fail to implement an effective customer service program actually do a disservice to their customers and unknowingly, leave the back door open to their competitors.

If you do it right, sales and service blend seamlessly and you will exceed your customers' expectations!

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