Serve Your Customers Well

By Cindy Waxer

News of bad service travels fast. According to Todd Duncan, author of High Trust Selling (Thomas Nelson, 2003), most unhappy customers tell an average of 10 people about their experience. That’s an average of 11 potential customers lost as a result of bad service. Duncan offers these five basic steps to providing extraordinary service to your clients.

Step #1: Decide how good you will be at customer service. Customer service is a philosophy, not a department. You are responsible for how your client is treated and no one else – not another department, not the post office, not Fed Ex. You’re far more likely to live up to high standards of customer service if you’ve set them yourself.

Step #2: Publish your service standards. Make yourself accountable to your customers. Tell them what you are committed to doing up front. You will be compelled to perform at the highest levels if your customer service standards are in writing and shared with your customers.

Step #3: Take only the business you can handle. If you can’t serve clients the way they should be served, don’t take their business. Make sure you know that you can deliver the service you promise before you generate a ton of business. Think of it this way: You should never open your doors unless you are ready to deliver over-the-top service to every customer who walks through them.

Step #4: Survey your customers before, during and after the sale. One mistake sales professionals make – besides not surveying their customers at all – is only surveying them after the transaction is complete and the sale is final. That’s too late.

Step #5: Make a list of the five to 10 points in the sales process that the majority of your customers find most important. Then make these the places in the selling process where you give your customers status updates to keep them very informed.

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