Some Customer Service Tips for Excellent Customer Service
The below customer service tips will make you thousands of dollars and create an incredible and lasting bond with your customers. Out of the tough lesson which I learned came a motto that I firmly believe in. That motto is excellent customer service leads to higher customer retention. Most home based business owners do not realize how customer retention affects not only their bottom line but many different aspects of the business as well.
A Hard Lesson Creates Important Customer Service Tips!
Here is a story of one of my worse home based business nightmares and how it turned out to be a very valuable lesson which allows me to offer these customer service tips. A lesson which also helped me to create the excellent customer service and customer retention policies I use in all my businesses today.
It started out like a great dream. We just started our new inkjet and toner business and our first customer was a large medical firm of about 20 offices within the United States. I had known the purchasing agent for quite awhile and before long we were awarded the contract to supply all these offices with our printer products.
The first order which we received was a very large one. Of course we were very excited to get the order and we did not question the purchasing agent about why hundreds of printer supplies were needed immediately. Since she had mentioned that they were going to make the main office the headquarters for all the printer supplies we assumed that this made enough sense.
The home based business we had set up was a drop ship company which meant we would be getting all the products from various manufacturers. Our suppliers were on a cash basis, meaning that all funds for the products were paid by our company in advance before we billed the medical firm.
We ordered all the supplies believing that the purchasing agent knew what she was doing. Well, it became a logistical nightmare when they could not fit all the products into the storage area they had created in their main office.
The medical firm was way too overstocked and we had to send back more then half of the orders. Returning the products became a little difficult since we were working with numerous manufacturers and each had their own set of return policies. Of course we believe in excellent customer service so we sent a representative to correct the issue and get our customer back on track.
When I look back at the situation I believe our home based business was more at fault then the purchasing agent who sent us the order. We should have offered excellent customer service through better communications with the purchasing agent and her boss before we accepted such a large order. This is a very important customer service tip. All we needed to do was put our customer first which would have avoided this nightmare.
These customer service tips will help your home based business to avoid possible expensive mistakes. They will also help to insure customer retention along with providing excellent customer service.
Customer Service Tips
Pre Qualify Your Customer and Their Needs
Help the Customer with Volume Amounts
Verify Storage Life of Product
Test the Product and Business Relationship
Pre Qualify Your Customer
First create a list of questions that will help to facilitate meeting your customers needs before the appointment. Your first meeting with the decision maker of the company is critical and your primary objective is to help the customer with their needs. Find out how long they have been doing the ordering or if this is a new company idea. If it is a new company idea how do they plan on implementing it?
In our scenario above, the company did not put a real strong plan together in regards to using one location as a distribution center. I should have followed up with how they had decided to enforce this new plan.
More Questions for Your Potential Customer
- Why are they looking at your business to help them with their needs?
- What is it that they believe your business can do for them?
- How are they receiving their product or service currently?
- What company are they currently receiving the product or service from?
- What do they like about it?
- What would they like to change?
- What are the payment terms?
- If they are on terms are they current?
- If not current why?
- What does your company expect out of the product or service?
- And in what way will this expectation be fulfilled by the product?
Customer Service Tips Promotional Links
Armed with these questions (and more) you can get a better idea of where and how your home based business products or services can answer and fit your customer needs.
Very Important Customer Service Tip: Offer suggestions and be as helpful as you can to solve these needs. Excellent customer service begins with getting the facts to solve the customer needs.
Help the Customer with Volume Amounts
If you have done your pre-qualifying properly, you will know much more about the decision maker and their company needs. Sometimes you will find out that the decision maker is not really clear on their objectives, products or volume amounts. This is where your expertise will shine. The customer came to you for your advice and understanding about these matters. Don't hold back even if it may mean that they don't like the answer.
Let your customer know exactly what to expect from your home based business and how you will handle all aspects of the process up front.
Large Order Questions:
- How did they come up with the volume of products needed?
- How accurate was the method?
- Where is the product being stored?
- How are they going to be distributed?
Most times you will need to test the waters by offering smaller volumes until your customer is satisfied with the product, shipping, price and quantities.
Customer service tip: Always go slow with huge volumes until you and your customer are on the same page. Remember that you can always increase the volume amounts later.
Verify Storage Life of Product
If you are selling a product that has a storage life, be sure that the customer’s volume amounts are safely matched but not excessively over matched. You do not want too much of your product on their shelves. This is money tied up by your customer and you certainly don't want them to have expired products in their inventory. Someone will eat the product costs and you do not want it to be your home based business. This is a very common mistake.
An extra customer service tip: Do not keep your customers too well stocked. You may lose them with too little contact. You and your home based business must stay in your customers view at all times. If your aren't servicing your customers very often you are leaving the door wide open for your competitors to move in.
You will want to continue to be able to work with your customers helping them identify needs that they may not even know they have. This is your opportunity to offer them new products and services that will fit their most current needs.
Test the Product and the Business Relationship
When you start with a new customer, go slowly and see how the product fits into their needs. Part of excellent customer service is to match customer needs with your product or service so that it is a fit for everyone.
Are your home based business products and services meeting the customer needs? Are your products a good match and are you offering the correct service? What can you do to make the business relationship even better? How can they profit more from your products? Keep in mind the extra customer service tip I mentioned above about staying in front of the customer.
If the products or business relationship are not a good fit, end the relationship. It will cost your business money and time as well bad public relations.
Remember an unsatisfied customer will tell more people about a bad situation then a good one. It is hard to end a relationship. Sometimes it is better to never have begun one with the customer in the first place. For the sake of excellent customer service I have refused customers because I knew that our products would not fit their needs.
I hope that your home based business will use these customer service tips. Creating a successful relationship with your customers is essential for your business success. Sales will soar and happy customers mean great word of mouth advertising and long term customer retention.
Don't forget to Sign up for my Newsletter below. Your email will be used only for the Home-Based-Business-Solutions newsletter. I respect your privacy and will not sell your email.