Amazing customer service helps build your brand reputation, and it's important to keep up on even if you're having a bad case of the Mondays. Remember that stresses at work or home aren't what you want the world to see when they stop in to ask what your business does. Even if you're dealing with that dificult client that never can pay on time, keep your communications cordial as you tell them you are passing them over to your legal department.
I think it's safe to drop the word customer and just call it service. You're going to be dealing with a lot of people, like clients, vendors, prospects, sub-contractors and associates. So here is our list of some service first concepts to help you get started right in the new year.
- Reply to every business related inquiry, even if it's not a client your company is going to take on. Call them back and thank them for the call, but explain that you don't specialize in pet photography.
- Reply in a reasonable amount of time. Calling a person back after weeks have passed will usually make your business look sloppy, besides being jerks that don't call back.
- Pay your vendors and sub contractors in a timely fashion, as agreed upon at the start of the project. (you do make agreements with your sub-contractors, right?)
- Make and use agreements with all your sub-contractors. These agreements need not be complicated, but should spell out what is required and expected of both parties. Keep up your end of the agreement!
- If there is an odd chance you can not pay someone on time, contact them before the due date, to let them know what is happening.
- Pay them what you actually owe! Do not send partial payments and act like the debt is settled.
- Keep your deadlines! Sometimes things happen and complicate your workflow this is not your client's fault.
The above list should feel like common sense to you, and just be a normal part of the day, but some businesses seem to forget that a little respect goes a long way.
This list is not intended as an all encompassing list, it's just meant to get you thinking about service and how you can improve your business with just some simple ideas. Feel free to add your ideas to the comments below.