How the best service attracts customers
A support service compared to customer care is the same as a school teacher compared to a nanny: there are fewer people you need to look after, but each of them requires much more attention.
Exceptional service is not only a privilege of large companies that produce public goods. This is equally a necessity for a small service business and freelancers. Dear customers always expect more from you than just a product.
Unfortunately, at least once a week I hear something like this:
The last freelancer I hired worked disgustingly. He missed all the deadlines, he never answered if I wrote by email or called. And I had a feeling that I was tearing him away from important matters, although I simply reminded that it would be nice to do the work for which I paid him .
You are trying to set the best price, improving technical skills. But is this enough to make the customer satisfied?
Remember the worst freelancer you have ever worked with: it would be much easier for you to come to terms with the fact that he doesn’t have enough professional experience, if at the same time you felt that he was able to really communicate with you and you can rely on him. For customers, there is nothing more disgusting than poor service. And the best way to reduce the quantity and quality of sales to zero is to deal with those who pay in the style of a "blank concierge."
Word of mouth remains the best marketing channel. It works flawlessly when you provide service at the boutique level, even if you are the only employee in the store. Customers should fall in love with what you do.
How to achieve this?
At the root of any service is the ability to listen and hear customers. What disappoints them? What suits them, and more importantly, what is going wrong? What are their needs? How does what you do help or hinder them from realizing these needs?
Look at the service process through the eyes of customers, and you can easily understand what and where you need to improve.
Keep your word
Dates, expected results, meetings - you should always do what you promise to do. Never say yes to anything unless you are sure that you cannot fulfill the promise to the client. Say no if you understand that the task is set incorrectly or has no solution at all. There is nothing worse than to promise, knowing in advance that you are not able to complete the project.
David Ogilvy, owner of the world-famous Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, said that nothing infuriates him so much as unfulfilled promises:
My eyes are bleeding when someone at Ogilvy & Mather tells a client that we cannot issue an advertisement on the promised day. In the best companies, promises are always kept, no matter how agony and overtime it may cost.
Remember: an unforgettable service begins with honesty.
Acknowledge mistakes immediately.
Too often, freelancers and small business owners choose to be silent when “something went wrong.” Instead, use the opportunity to speak with the client: what exactly went wrong, why it went wrong, and what you are going to do to fix it. Do not keep silent about the problems, speak them out, we are all people, and people tend to make mistakes.
The simplest key to good service for any project is feedback. The more often you communicate with a client, the faster you will be able to detect problems and, of course, solve them. Call, write, meet - contact the client on a schedule. This will allow you to be one step ahead, direct the situation in the right direction, and be sure that the client is satisfied with the progress.
Offer an expert solution.
Clients may have their own vision of solving a problem, but they are pros in their field, not in yours. And if you see that the client is mistaken, do not miss the opportunity to “edit” his request - you, as a specialist, should be more aware of how to most effectively solve his problem. Share expert knowledge with the client, he will definitely appreciate it.
You do not need to sleep with a mobile phone under the pillow, turning on the call at maximum volume: customer service does not require your attention 24/7, with the exception of force majeure situations. The clearer you outline your boundaries in dealing with customers, the more likely customers will be to reckon with them.
Make all the details clear before it comes to money
During negotiations with the client, it is important to clearly understand what result is expected from you. Do not use jargon or technical vocabulary to explain what you will do - speak the same language with the client. Take as much time as you need to explain to the client what services you provide, what you do and what you don’t do, and what you may need from yourself during the work. The clearer the task before it comes to money, the happier both sides will be at the end of the project.
Don't promise the moon
Agree to do only those things that you can control, otherwise you will not satisfy the expectations of the client, and he will be dissatisfied. This is not the most seductive of the selling chips - to promise only what you can control. But ultimately it will help to make your client happy and as loyal as possible.
If you are a freelancer or a small business owner, trying to compete only in price will actually drive you to the bottom. Let the level of your customer service be similar to the level of a luxury hotel. Treat customers as dearest guests. Give them personal attention, listen to their problems and goals, communicate with them regularly, keep your word, and your customers will eventually become your sales department, telling others how cool it is to work with you.