Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Customer Service

By: Joseph Norman

“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.” - Sam Walton

About four months ago a client of the real estate company I co-founded after college, Norwalk Enterprises, said something to my business partner and I on a conference call that was subtle, but absolutely rocked our world. He was in the process of doing a deal with us, purchasing a cash flow rental property in Rochester, when he said, “You know guys, I’m counting on you now.”

It took a few days for that to really settle in, but it did.

Now, it’s not that we weren’t focused on high quality customer service before then, but there was a definite reality to the situation after we heard our client say that. It hammered home the fact that you’ve got to treat your customers right because they pay your bills and are ultimately, your best salespeople.

As Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles discuss in their best-selling book, “Raving Fans,” if you provide legendary service, you will create raving fans.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about customer service that might be helpful!

Under Promise, Over Deliver (UPOD). Set realistic expectations for your clients that you know you can beat. Then do your best to deliver results that exceed those expectations!

Be available. If you have a client in crisis mode, answer the phone! Call them back! Communicate with them! It’s as simple as that. Showing you care about their concerns with your actions goes a long way - even if it is just to say, “I got your message. We’ll take care of it on Monday.” That means a lot to a client.

Honesty. The truth is what they need to hear. Even if it isn’t what they want to hear, in the end they’ll respect you more and be more loyal because you told them the truth.

Listen. Above all things you need to listen to what your customers have to say. When you take the time to listen, you learn all of your clients’ insecurities, fears, and inhibitions. In addition, you learn their hopes, dreams, and ambitions. By listening you make your customers feel valued. That is priceless.

Not a business owner? These four principles apply to everyday life as well!