A lot of growing businesses are focused on profit, margins, and developing a quality offering people will want. It could be easy to forget how important having the best customer service is.
But oftentimes, and ironically, customer service is what your clients remember most. With that in mind, we’ve gathered the ten ridiculously easy-to-follow best practices for ensuring your best customer service for clients. From client-service experts around the world, here is what they are saying is key to good service.
Respond to email the same business day, and call leads w/in 15 min of inquiry. — Chris Post, CEO @postmm
1. Keep the communication lines open!
The single biggest thing that I always hear back from clients is that they love our quick and constant communication with them. The results have been great. I believe this contributed to our business really starting to explode in the past couple years.
One of my employees, our writer, just had a customer respond with, “I got the emails. That was fast. Thanks for moving ahead!”
Clients don't want to wait, and they shouldn't have to. They are paying us for answers, and so we literally owe it to them to get them the answers they need. That focus hasn't just helped us keep our clientele happy, but to grow it as well.
Here are our best practices for communication:
→ Call any new leads within 15 minutes of their inquiry.
→ Return all client emails the same business day, or if it's late, first thing in the morning.
→ If we see an email pop up while we're on the computer, if at all possible we'll respond to it right then and there.
2. Provide transparency!
One of my clients insists the single most important reason he continues using my services, as a management consultant, is that I tell him the direct truth. As a consultant to his company, my goal is to help each client increase revenue and growth. He needs an outside perspective and
realistic picture of his company. I provide that through data related to the health and status of the business.
Here is my best tip for transparency:
→ Present data supporting any truths you state
"82% of clients said 'being easy to work with' was the most important reason they kept coming back" — Robert Gray, President @insightlink
3. Be easy to work with!
Since 2001, my company has done a lot of research related to what is critical to client relationships, among both our current and prospective clients. Most important? Being easy to work with.
As support for this, we did a client survey early this year which confirmed this conviction. Here were the results of why clients work with Insightlink Communications. They are also our best practices for client relations. By balancing all three, we’ve cultivated healthy client relationships:
→ Be easy to work with — 82% importance
→ Provide high-value skills/capability — 80% importance
→ Offer competitive price for a good value — 79% importance
I believe that we effectively balance all three of these.
4. Build capital-T Trust!
We've actually been looking at this question a lot, because some of our largest clients have now been with us over 25 years! We’ve stayed through multiple personnel changes on their side. The reason why? It’s that we’ve built Trust.
We’ve learned it's important to use our expertise to tell the client the truth about how best to achieve their goal. Almost always the client will bring these moments up in later conversations and contextualize them around how they know they can trust us. This has definitely lead to longer-term, more meaningful, more profitable partnerships.
Here are our best practices for building trust:
→ Listen to what your client needs. If they come to you with an idea of the solution they want, agree totally with them and provide it — when that’s the right thing to do to help them.
→ Other times, it’s worth saying, “Yes, we could sell you that, but I think there are better ways to use your money.”
5. Prove you can deliver!
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls
The main reason clients hire us or any firm is because they believe we can help them solve their problem. There’s two best tips for showing we can help:
→ Show them how we successfully fixed this type of problem in the past
→ Earn respect by doing the same for them on this project
"Get to know each client personally, and follow up." Andrew Reeves, CEO Luxe Translation
6. Keep business personal!
Andrew Reeves, Founder and CEO, Luxe Translation Services
The single most important thing my clients tell me is my service feels more personal than the competition’s. Many clients tell me their previous provider appeared too busy or too big to care about them. I can relate to that, and I try to make my service as personal as possible and let every client know that I personally care about their situation. Here are tips I’ve found work:
→ When a new client comes in, treat them like a friend and not like just another customer
→ Get to know each client personally: Find out where they are in their life, what hobbies they have
→ Remember what they tell you. Then follow up, such as “How was your New York trip?”
7. Put humanity back into transactions!
Carrie Seibert, Owner/Founder, Soap Commander, LLC (@soap_commander)
While men have the option of purchasing handcrafted grooming products from a variety of vendors, they repeatedly report that they choose us. They patronize our business because they see us as real people with whom they feel connected and can relate. Doing this builds a business that succeeds in the long term, against competitors.
Here are our tips for keeping things human:
→ Stop looking at products as commodities; factor in the human side to the deal
→ Be open, honest, and authentic with those whom you serve
→ Move beyond a mere financial exchange by letting the transaction become personal
8. The #1 thing is, get results!
If you're not delivering results for a client, they're going to find a provider who can. Once the KPIs have been outlined and the strategy has been developed, it all comes down to the results that you show in your monthly reports. If the graphs don't have the right upward trajectory, there's no amount of sweet talking, hyper responsiveness to questions or anything else that can save you.
Here’s the most important thing to know about results:
→ If you can't deliver results for a client due to circumstances beyond your control, do not take the client on in the first place
9. Stay flexible!
Max Robinson, RSS
We rely heavily on repeat business from our customers to support our growth. So we always ensure that we're listening to exactly what our customers want from us. The one detail that almost all of customers comment on is our flexibility as a company. To stay flexible, we go into every client meeting with a couple things in mind:
→ Know that no two customers are ever the same
→ Provide a tailored service for each client we help
→ Let our customers know that regardless of their needs, we will do our best to accommodate them
10. Treat your clients like family — care!
Communicate with your clients as if they were your parent or closest friend. By that, I mean, care about their issue as if they were your own. If it were your issue, you would want a representative who was highly responsive, caring, honest and dedicated — in both words and actions.
Here are the most important things to show you care:
→ Be reachable and responsive
→ Be honest, but empathetic
→ Really listen. Don’t just waiting for the person to finish speaking
The value of great customer service goes beyond sales. The quality of your service often reflects directly on your business reputation. Clients who are treated with kindness, transparency, and empathetic service are more likely to tell others about you and keep coming back for more business.
Here are the ten best practices you can follow, summarized:
- Communicate constantly. Answer emails and calls timely.
- Be transparent. Provide data to support any claims.
- Be easy to work with!
- Build trust by listening and giving honest, expert guidance.
- Deliver what you promise.
- Make business personal by finding out about your client’s life, hobbies, travel, and more.
- Stop looking at business as transactional; remember you work with humans.
- Get results, or admit you can’t do that type of work.
- Stay flexible. Each client is unique, so don’t box them into anything.
- Care about your clients as if they were family.