Have you ever walked into a place of business and didn’t receive a proper greeting or acknowledgment from anyone who worked there? Have you spent money somewhere and felt like your business was not appreciated? Can you remember the last time you were wowed with excellent customer service?
As I was going through the drive thru of a popular fast food chain, I was told I would have an extended wait, because they mixed up my order. The person waiting on me was very apologetic on the mistake. Then the shift manager came to the window to apologize again, and to make sure I wasn’t upset over the delay. As they were getting my order corrected, the manager came back and told me to pick anything I wanted off the menu for free. I made my selection, and I was finally on my way with a smile on my face. I was indeed a happy customer, because of how they chose to handle the situation.
I later had a similar situation at a different establishment. Sadly, they were not apologetic nor nice about it, even though it was their error. That time, as I drove off, I remember thinking how I would avoid that location in the future.
Do you remember “the customer is always right” motto? That’s long gone and great customer service just isn’t what it used to be. Whenever I encounter great or poor service, I take notice. For those of us who own a business or work in service-related occupations, maybe it’s time to take notice and make sure we are offering our best to every existing and potential customer we encounter.
As a business owner myself, and frequent client of various establishments, I put together a few tips to help ensure that you are building a great business reputation, for optimum sustainability and profits.
1. Appointment Setting
Do not overbook and make your clients wait for you, past your set appointment time. It’s inevitable, that sometimes you will get backed up and clients will have to wait, but you should not make this a habit.
Depending on the type of service you offer, booking multiple people in the same time slot, or not scheduling the proper time allowance for each client, is a huge mistake. Even if you are the best at what you do, eventually, if you do not respect your clients’ time, you will lose them.
We live in a microwave society, and nobody likes to WWWAAAIITTTTTTT!!!
Do not be late! Open on time every day.
If you know you hate getting up in the morning, set your appointments accordingly. Your first appointment should not get there before you do. Arrive early, so you can get set up to be able to start upon the client’s arrival.
For some reason, gossiping in salons and certain places of business has previously been the norm for discussion, but it does not have to be. You may not want to talk politics, but you can at least talk current events, favorite television shows, or use the time to introduce your clients to the latest products and trends in your field.
When all else fails, ask the client about their work or family. People usually love to talk about what’s going on in their life, especially if it involves their children or grandchildren.
Whatever you do, do not talk negatively about clients in front of other clients. This puts your client in the awkward position of imagining what you are saying about them, when they are not present or within earshot of the conversation.
Also, make sure you look and dress presentable at all times. You don’t have to dress in business attire to look nice. If you meet a client looking like you just rolled out of bed, however, you will not make a great impression. Dress according to your industry, but always make sure your attire and overall appearance is appropriate.
4. Be Prepared
You should always review inventory and supplies before your week starts, so you don’t have to run out for supplies, forcing your client to wait on you. Nothing says unprepared like having to make a store run in the middle of an appointment. This also helps with respecting your client’s time.
If you were supposed to do some research or have something ready for your client at your next appointment, make sure you have it readily available.
5. Customer Service
You should always try your best to provide excellent customer service to every client. Be polite and make your clients feel welcomed and valued. Greeting them by name and saying please and thank you, goes a long way. Make them feel like they will regret moving their business elsewhere.
6. Honor your Commitments
Don’t tell a client you have a product or service and then don’t deliver. If something happens to prevent you from meeting their needs, contact them immediately, in case they need to make other arrangements.
If you are unsure if you can meet a client’s request or expectation, be honest and upfront with them about it. If you lie and say you can deliver and don’t, the client will be less understanding.
7. Own Being the Expert
In most cases, you went to school, or at least have some form of training, license or specialized background in your field. You likely know more about your field than your clients. Don’t make your client or potential client feel stupid for asking certain questions that you have expertise in.
Stay up to date with the latest trends and what’s going on in your industry.
Also be sure to keep your license, training, certificates, insurance and other business-related requirements up to date.
When we pull up to a drive thru or go shopping at our favorite store, sometimes the quality of service is just the luck of the draw. Depending on who is working that day, and what kind of mood they are in, we may or may not receive great service.
When we own our own business or work in service-related fields, we have an obligation to make sure we are providing the level of service needed, to keep our doors open and our clients satisfied. Consumers may not continue to spend their hard-earned cash with you, especially if they don’t feel like it’s deserved or appreciated. Money is not always easy to come by, and everyone has options!
Be empowered to make your business a success, by building a great business reputation. Clients will come and go, but as long as we do our part to provide excellent service to all of our existing and potential clients, we set ourselves up to FLOURISH through profits, repeat business and client referrals.