Just the other day, my van was losing power so I made a safe exit from traffic and parked in a hotel parking lot. I realized that the lot was reserved only for hotel patrons so I went in and greeted the person behind the desk and explained my predicament. I assured her that I would have the van towed ASAP. Instead of offering some kind of commiseration, she retorted that my van better be out of the lot before 3:00 pm. I was told this piece of information not just once but twice. I was shocked by her general lack of human warmth and concern. It got me thinking about the importance of customer service.
We need to treat all customers or clients whether they are visiting a physical or virtual office the same way we would welcome guests in our home. We wouldn’t dream of saying to a friend, “When do you plan to leave because I have plans later?” Here are some specific ways to make clients feel like…well, family!
1. If meeting in person, offer a glass of water or coffee/tea to your client. Give a firm handshake both at the beginning and at the end of the meeting. Eye contact shows that you’re listening to their concerns. Express understanding of their needs by asking good questions.
2. Turn off the cell phone. Answering phone calls or glancing at text messages is disrespectful of your client’s time.
3. Respond to their emails within 24 hours. If you aren’t able to provide an answer right away, at least let your client know that their question has been duly noted. Provide them with a date when you can respond.
4. Never complain about other clients to your client. Once again, this is showing lack of confidentiality. It’s basically gossip, pure and simple.
5. After the service or product has been provided, show appreciation to the client for hiring you. Send a thank you card or a discount card for referrals that may come your way as a result.
Clients remember how you make them feel! So make the choice to make them feel special. We all like to do business with people who make us feel good. It just makes “cents”!