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7 Ideas to Improve Client Care
What would you say if we were to ask you one thing that you could do right now to improve every facet of your business? Would you think product innovation? Process efficiencies? Team cohesion?
All of those are useful, but client care improvements can trump them all. Why? Because your clients will normally only contact you when they’re unhappy or need something. When they’re bothered by something, poor client service can lose you the account. When they’re happy and looking for new business, you must know how to maintain the relationship — after all, when you’re at the top, there’s always a risk of falling.
Happy customers become brand ambassadors, so the effort you put into ensuring that every interaction is positive — at every touchpoint — is well worth it. Try these seven ideas for improving your client care.
BE UPFRONT, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE IN THE WRONG
The last thing a business should do when the proverbial poop hits the proverbial fan is to scramble to save face. Pretending you’ve done nothing wrong when it’s clear that you have might seem a prudent strategy, but it’s immensely disingenuous to the customers you’ve wronged.
Instead of turning to spin doctors to try and put lipstick on your pig, own your mistakes and admit them. When you’ve wronged a client, let them know, even if they aren’t yet aware of the problem.
The fact is, they may discover your gaff after the fact, and if they see you admitted the problem and moved quickly to fix it, they’ll be more forgiving than if it feels like you snuck around in the shadows patching holes before anyone knew there was a problem. Be real with your customers, and they’ll respect you for it — and they’ll stick by your side. People can smell a rat, and if they feel you aren’t being honest with them, they’ll drift away to another provider.
SEND AUTOMATED, HANDWRITTEN NOTES
Keeping in touch with clients is critical. When you aren’t in communication, they’re more likely to devalue your relationship, which is the germ of all sorts of things you want to avoid. However, email campaigns have limited utility. They feel cold and impersonal. They certainly don’t feel like one person connecting with another.
Handwritten notes are the better option. They’re warm and endearing in a way that digital communications can’t match. And with Simply Noted, you can send convincing pen-written notes without ever lifting a pen.
We’ve built a network of state-of-the-art handwriting machines that use real ballpoint pens and sophisticated, AI-driven smart fonts to create compelling handwritten messages from the text you send us. Link us to your CRM, and you can automatically send welcome notes, thank you cards, holiday messages, and “just because” cards to keep your clients satisfied and talking about you.
SEE ALSO: The Best Handwritten Envelope Service
CALL EVERY CLIENT AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR
Along with a thorough handwritten communication strategy, you should be calling your clients at least twice a year. Make a schedule and assign client lists to as many employees as necessary to ensure that someone reaches out to all of your clients — past, paused, and current — at least twice throughout the year.
Phone calls are important because they’re an immediate, two-way form of communication. You can ask questions and get instant answers. More importantly, so can your customers. They may be interested in talking to you but never quite find the motivation. Taking the initiative relieves them of the responsibility, making communication more likely.
Biannual calls create an opening for clients to air grievances that they might otherwise keep to themselves. They also provide you with a forum for sharing upcoming product developments and service offerings.
LEARN TO LISTEN ACTIVELY
Active listening can dramatically increase your and your staff’s capacity for empathy and understanding — and it‘s a skill that anyone can learn.
To listen actively, you should devote all of your attention to what the other person says. If you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to say next, you’re not paying close enough attention to the speaker. The idea is to give them the floor — entirely — and put all of your focus on understanding what they’re saying.
This doesn’t mean you should be silent. You should check in occasionally with encouragement and clarifying questions. If you don’t understand something, let your client know. But listening actively, you’ll come to appreciate their point of view, which opens you to constructive and creative solutions.
TRAIN YOUR STAFF, AND OFTEN
You’re free to research informative articles like this one, but your staff may not be so diligent. To ensure high-caliber service across your entire organization, you need to offer customer-care training.
One option is to hire a corporate training service. But this can be costly. A better option is to find quality course material and match it with your own knowledge and processes. Create a training regimen that’s repeated at intervals to ensure that every staff member knows — and remembers — how to best serve your clients.
OFFER FREE HELP, EVEN WHEN YOUR BUSINESS IS HELPING
This section header could be confusing, so allow us to explain. A lawyer sells legal help. But that doesn’t mean they should charge for every morsel of advice. Giving away nuggets of wisdom and help can strengthen client bonds.
Look for inexpensive ways to offer free help. If you’re a logo designer and a long-time client asks for a quick one-off for a side project, consider giving it away gratis. It might only cost you a few hours, but the free help will be greatly appreciated and add years to your client relationship.
A side benefit to giving when it isn’t painful? You won’t have to when it’s difficult because you’ll already have a pool of standing goodwill.
SEE ALSO: How to Incorporate Empathy Into Sales
FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS, NOT PROBLEMS
When clients call, ask them what you can do for them. Don’t wait for them to volunteer the information. And when they present a problem, don’t dwell on what you can’t control. Instead, focus on providing a fast, satisfactory solution. Have systems in place to facilitate quick turnaround efforts so that no matter what your client needs, you have the infrastructure in place to take care of it.
Proper client care is the root of every strong company. Try some of these ideas and watch your customer satisfaction scores soar!
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