Be Our Guest: Ten Tips for Providing Excellent Customer Service
As I left the movie theater after having watched Disney’s latest iteration of Beauty and the Beast, I couldn’t help but cheerfully hum the tune of the well-known number, “Be Our Guest.” Hours later, the song felt like more of an earworm than an inspiration, but I did start thinking about what Lumiere’s approach might be when it comes to providing customer service for Act!
Providing excellent customer service is a key differentiator for any business that wants to grow and thrive. Your Act! database is the foundation of customer service, as it contains all of your basic customer information, a log of calls and emails sent, and your responses to those communications. When it comes to your clients, put your service to the test by following the tips below.
1. Answer the phone ‘live’ as much as possible. People like to talk to a real person.
2. If someone calls and leaves a message, return the call promptly. On the phone, commit to memory the caller’s name, or write it down. Address them by that name. Keep track of your calls.
3. If an incoming phone call is someone who needs help, take a moment and listen to the entire issue or concern before attempting to help or provide assistance. Get the whole picture. Sometimes this is difficult when you know the solution 20 seconds into the conversation, but hang in there. Again, keep track of your calls.
4. If someone emails a request, promptly reply in some fashion. At a minimum, confirm receipt of their message and include when they can expect a response.
5. Host a regular customer appreciation event. Be creative with the venue, or the subject matter, and provide refreshments. This will also allow your customers to meet each other, creating a unique dynamic in the group. The event must be well-planned so that the time spent by your customers is used wisely. They will notice and appreciate it.
6. Send regularly scheduled communications to your customers. Email newsletter, tips, video –anything that will be useful (this is key) to your customers. Whatever it is, they must want to read or view it. On occasion, someone will ask a question in reply, so it also works as a trigger.
7. Be professional in all verbal communications, but keep it friendly. People will do business with people they like. It never hurts to ask about their family or recent trips, but do maintain healthy limits.
8. Be proactive with your customers. While staying within reasonable boundaries, make suggestions when you identify something that would be an opportunity for them or their company. This lets them know you are thinking of them.
9. Never let the tone of your voice reveal your emotion, especially if it is negative. If necessary, take some time to research a response, and call back later. With emails, wait 24 hours to respond.
10. Exceed expectations whenever possible. Generally, customers and prospects will have built-in expectations levels, so it may not take much to exceed their level.