“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game, client service wins the game.” Lately, I have been thinking about aspects that differentiate one vendor from another. While expertise, experience, affordability, and ease of communication featured high on the list, client servicing made a distinct appearance.
Effective client servicing is very often what differentiates the winner from the plodders, in today’s highly competitive business landscape. Exemplary client service practices can give your product/service the extra impetus it needs to outshine rival product/service. And since finding new clients is much more expensive than retaining existing ones, the need for superior client servicing gets amplified. Also, a lost customer would mean lost revenue and an unhappy customer can damage your reputation.
With so much at stake, I don’t believe any organization would not want to service their clients well. In view of this, I would like to share some quintessential aspects of effective client servicing.
Honesty is the best policy
Honesty and sincerity go a long way with clients. Do not pretend that you have answers to every problem they have, if you don’t. Admitting a weakness in your knowledge or process is better than outright lies. The genuineness of your concern to formulate an effective solution to your client requirements will win you their loyalty and long term partnership.
Foresee you clients’ needs
Your business plan should be built around understanding and anticipating your clients’ needs and aspirations. Make sure you offerings are in sync with your clients’ expectations and delivers on those expectations satisfactorily. A mismatch would lead to unpleasant experience.
Listen to your clients
Effective listening entails truly making an effort to absorb and comprehend what is being said and acknowledge that understanding. Learning to listen is a key skill that will serve you well in all aspects of your business. Attend to even the smallest details. Try putting yourself in the client’s shoe and endeavor to understand their point of view.
Resolve conflicts in time
Don’t allow issues to remain unaddressed and mould and fester. Prompt and timely resolution holds the key to good client servicing. Don’t shy away from tendering an apology even if you are not necessarily in the wrong. Intervention by a senior member to placate an important client and seek effective solution can be effective at times.
Communicate and follow-up periodically
Your client service initiative should not stop with completion of sales process. The endeavor should be to maintain a free flow of information between you and your clients. The communication should be designed to educate clients about your product/service and organization. Newsletters, interactive forums, and other forms of social media are effective tools to communicate key messages.
Seek to build long lasting relationship
It is imperative to build long lasting relationship with your clients and not just perfecting a singular non-repetitive client. Building an effective relationship involves being responsive to client requests. Every effort should be made to accommodate client requests or to explain options that are available. A client, who feels appreciated, cared for and understood is less likely to leave in pursuit of better service and/or price. Effective relationship can compensate for poor performance, but it cannot be used or rather abused to justify low grade performance.
In short, superior client servicing is critical to your survival in the market place. It should be the cornerstone of your business and will help you retain a loyal client base.