|The Small Business Library|
Last update: December 15, 1999
Six Powerful Principles For Success
From the initial negotiations and signing of the contract to delivery of the final product, each step is as equally as important as any other is. It boils down to excellence in customer service! You either have it or you don't.
There are six principles to excellence in customer service that are a must for any business:
Who knows their needs better than your clients themselves? Listen when they talk. Don't butt in and try to tell them what you think they need. Before you interject your opinion or suggestions, let your client finish talking, waiting for the best opportunity possible to present your feedback. Also, graciously take into consideration any ideas and suggestions that your clients may have in enhancing or developing your business. Your clients can serve as your most valuable resource . . . that is, if you're willing to listen to them.
When at all possible, telephone calls should be returned on a daily basis, or at least by the end of the following business day. A great deal of business is missed on a daily basis when telephone calls are not returned in an efficient manner. In today's fast-paced - "I want it now" - society, being away from the phone can cost you business.
By the same token, a response to all written communication should be handled promptly and never be left occupying a basket on your desk for more than three business days. Likewise, treat e-mail in a timely and efficient manner. Get in the habit of responding to e-mail inquiries the day they are received when at all possible.
Extend to your clients only your best. They deserve, expect and are paying for quality work. Deliver the completed job on time. If you anticipate any delay, for whatever reason, be forthright and honest in conveying this information to your client. If the delay will create an adverse situation or be inconvenient to your client, offer to assist your client in any way possible to get him/her through the crisis.
As with almost everything else in life, there is also margin for improvement when it comes down to your business. Continue to discover ways in which you can enhance your products and services and make them the best! Strive to always have something better to offer today than you had available yesterday.
Stand behind your products and services. If your client is not 100% satisfied with what you delivered, then find a way to make it right. Keep in mind that your clients are your most viable means of future business, whether they directly buy again or refer someone else to you. Clients NEED to be satisfied as this aids in building a long-lasting and trusting relationship with you.
A verbal thank you upon delivery is not good enough. Get in the habit of sending out thank you cards to your clients following completion of a project. Whether it be a cyber-thank you greeting or a note of appreciation via the U.S. Postal Service. Practice saying thank you over and over again. Your thoughtfulness and courtesy will continue to bring the client back to you again and again.
These simple, yet powerful building blocks are the key to the success of any business. Each plays an important role in the entire process of the business transaction. Not one single principle should be overlooked. From beginning to end, excellence in customer service will make you a winner every time.
Article by Rozey Gean, founder of the Women Entrepreneurs Online Network (WEON).