It’s a no-brainer to say customer service matters, but some recent studies really quantify just how much it matters. In one study, respondents indicated that they stand to lose up to 21% of annual revenue as a result of not offering a positive, consistent and brand-relevant customer experience. Another study says that bad customer service stories are more likely to be shared than good customer services stories, with 62% of B2B and 42% of B2C customers purchasing more after a good experience.
It’s really important for us at DocuStar to make sure the client experience is a positive one. My goal is for the client to consider us a part of their team. After all, we practically serve as an extension of their marketing department for some projects. Whether you work B2B or B2C, reaching that level of intimacy with your clients is critical for sustained success but can be difficult to achieve. I think there are four things you can do that will put you and your client in a position to succeed:
Understand their goals and make them your own. Successful companies ask the question “what can I do to help the client succeed?” You may have them locked in a contract for a few more months, but if you don’t deliver service that helps them meet the goals they set out with, that re-negotiation is going to be a lot more difficult on your end. Put another way, don’t waste your time on things they don’t care about. Your goals should directly reflect what you can do to help your customer be successful.
Pretend as though you are employed by the client. Ultimately, you and your company answer to the client, literally and fiscally. This mentality needs to be embraced by everyone in your company, no matter what they do. They should know that, in a sense, they have two employers: The one that cuts them their check and the customers that cut the company a check. It’s all a circular relationship – employees depend on the company, the company depends on clients and the clients depend on the employees.
Establish a real relationship. Find a way to connect with your customers. Understand what their challenges are and help them succeed in getting their work accomplished. It doesn’t have to go beyond work, but try to engage them in a personalized manner. Know what they’re all about and what their corporate and individual values are. Technology has helped greatly with process automation, but people want to know there are faces behind that technology they can connect with if need be.
Address problems quickly. Just as you should share the clients’ goals, you should share their urgency. This is especially true when problems arise, of course. Again, just as their goals become your goals, their challenges and problems should become your challenges and problems. You normally wouldn’t put off your problems until a more convenient time, nor should you your clients’ problems.
Basically, this whole process comes down to the Golden Rule: Treat your client like you would want to be treated. Outside of our particular workplace, we’re all consumers of other people’s products and services. No one likes to be neglected, put on hold or minimized. If you keep these four concepts in mind, you stand a good chance of ingratiating yourself with your clients for a long time to come.