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Customer Service Strategy Articles



Sometimes business owners ask me what is the best incentive to get referrals from their clients. There are several ways you could incentivize your client base to encourage them to share referrals and find new clients. However, I’m not sure that is necessary. This is what I believe.

Benefits make you money, so find the unmet need - simply ask, listen carefully to show you really care, reposition your offerings to solve the problem - watch your bank account grow.

This weekend, I sent an email asking what the refund policy was for a program I recently joined and am debating about remaining in. Nowhere did I ask for a refund – in fact the whole email consisted of greeting, one sentence and closing. On Monday morning I received an email “thank you, your refund has been processed”.

Until recently, whenever I heard the words “the final frontier”, I thought of Star Trek. Now, however, it makes me think of business: Business owners have waged war on prices, bonuses, early bird specials, scarcity tactics, buy one/get one offers, reputations, affiliate commission payouts and gifts, bring-a-friend specials and pretty much everything else you can think of.

What's the difference between good customer service, great customer service and Extreme Client Care™? It's a question I'm often asked and here's an easy way to think of it:

Recently I was interviewed on the subject of Extreme Client Care™ for a book and we spent most of that call on what it is and how business owners can easily and inexpensively incorporate it into everything they do.

Years ago while sitting in one of my first meetings at a national satellite television company, the word “churn” came up and immediately everyone sat up and starting talking about how to reduce it — offering ideas, sharing strategies.

Everywhere we turn, someone (or some company) wants our attention: Radio, television, email, direct mail, billboards, children, partners, friends, colleagues. . .the list is never ending. And once they get our attention, we’re faced with a whole new set of questions and choices.

Back in the day you did business with people you knew. The corner store, so-and-so’s husband or cousin, a friend of a friend. There was a relationship and you knew who to talk to if something went wrong or wasn’t as expected. Then population and technology grew. No longer do we know the people we’re doing business with – they may live in the next town or even state, and with the Internet, they could live on another continent and you’d never know.

What do you think of when you determine whether a business is easy to do business with? We all know that the economy is, let’s say, “less-than-ideal” so how can you make your business more attractive to your ideal clients? Are you making it easy to do business with you?

How confident are you in your business? In your skills? We recently took one of our dogs to our local veterinarian and he recommended a test for her – one that he felt was outside his specialty.

If your practice is booming, taking a well needed vacation can be difficult. This is especially true if you have lined up new clients who will have to wait to get started. Fabienne Fredrickson provides some suggestions to help you plan ahead and handle client expectations and needs while you are away.

Systems. . .they sound boring. They require setup and often documentation. They’re a lot less fun than chatting on Facebook or Twitter or having a “quick call” or Skype chat with a friend or colleague. They’re also the key to increased profits and peace of mind in your business.

What's your job as a business owner? At its core, it's to make money -- regardless of anything else, the basic job of a business is to make a profit. Period. For those of us who really want to make a difference, this can be tough to remember/focus on.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life (and business). Out of the blue you get a nasty email from someone. Sometimes it’s about an article you’ve written. Sometimes it’s accompanied by a refund request. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s tied to anything at all. Stuff happens. As a business owner and entrepreneur, the more successful you become, the more you open yourself up to criticism, negative feedback or just plain being attacked. Here's how to handle it.

There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. In Part 1, I talked about about 3 simple tweaks you can make to your product to make it more valuable. In this article I’ll cover 4 easy follow-up strategies.

There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. Here are 3 simple tweaks you can make to your product to make it more valuable.

Here are 3 reasons why every entrepreneur could benefit from some coaching skills.

When you are a coach, you want to see your clients succeed. Their success is your reason for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and support. Are you responsible for your clients’ success? It would be ideal if you could be responsible for your clients and even do some things for them. But, you can’t do that right? You can’t force your clients to take action. What can you guarantee?

Are you looking to provide some added value to your clients? Additional ways to access your wisdom can be seen as a significant bonus with private clients or even for group programs. Two simple ways that allow clients to connect with you are Question and Answer Calls and Open Office Hours. Here are the benefits of both to help you decide which one is right for your business.

Do you see clients in person to provide your services? Some people are comfortable meeting clients in their home. Others find this awkward or inappropriate for a variety of reasons. So where can you meet your clients if you aren’t ready to officially rent space or use your home? There are several alternatives worth investigating.

If your business is expanding and you have started to offer additional services, some business owners feel their current company name will not be sufficient to communicate what they do. This makes them want to change the company name so it better reflects the new services too and not just the original offerings. Fabienne shares three steps that will help you make your name change smoothly.

Did you know there is a way of BEING that literally makes or breaks your ability to attract clients in large numbers? The sad thing is, many self employed people don't use it and, as a result, are literally letting prospective clients slip through their fingers, day in and day out, even if they've done a lot of marketing and networking, even if they have lots of prospects. It's almost like they destroy their chances of winning, at the very end of the cycle. To avoid letting prospects slip through your fingers, you need to have serious CONVICTION about what you offer.

Most of the trust building practices we employ as marketers are about getting our prospects to feel OK with being vulnerable and then to come to us for help. We discover their challenges, then move forward with a solution. We, in turn, have no obligation to put our trust in them or show vulnerability. We can look perfect. It’s time we start showing TRUST as we market and take risks doing things a different way.

How do you decide if you should go the “extra mile” to land a client? Sometimes a prospect will ask for an extra step in order to close the sale. For example, he or she might want to meet you in person before making the commitment to work with you.

Your welcome package sets your clients up for working with you in a number of important ways. Providing this welcome package to clients will help them understand what is expected of them and eliminate miscommunication. In addition, it will hopefully help you avoid problems that can crop up without this kind of documentation. Fabienne offers ideas for elements to include in the package.

Are you a person who takes on too much, too fast, and seems to always be RACING towards the next level? It may be time to step back and look into the REASON you started your business. Time to focus on SERVICE again.

Ideally, when you perform customer service, it is done on a one-on-one basis with each of your customers. That works quite well in the offline world – but on the Internet, that simply will not do. Your customers are literally all over the world, and there is no way that you can really deal with each one of them personally. That is where an autoresponder comes in.

I went to the King’s Speech movie this weekend. This movie so clearly demonstrates that changes that can happen in people’s lives when they are guided by a really good teacher, mentor, professional or coach. Here are four very important lessons that one could learn from this movie to improve client relationships.

Today I want to chat with you about something that you might not have really considered before. And that is that every contact you make in your business is marketing.

If you’ve been in business on the Internet for any length of time, you are probably coming to the conclusion that the same old, same old just doesn’t sell the way it used to anymore.

If you’re like I used to be — over delivering yet feeling too guilty to let go — then I urge you read these tips immediately. I promise they’ll help you fulfill your desire to serve without overwhelming yourself or your clients.

Successful businesses know that by connecting with their clients and building relationships they get longer-term customers and more referrals. Do you have an active client connection strategy? Does it include sending cards through the mail yet? If not, start now! Here are 14 reasons you can use to send a card through the mail to a client.

One of the keys to success in business is to know what your customers want, so you can deliver it. But unless you’ve perfected your Vulcan mind meld skills, the chances are good you could use a bit of help figuring out just what it is that your customers want. What’s the easiest way to do that? Ask them!

In this age of technology-driven companies and recorded receptionists, are you providing your clients with a personal touch? It's the personal touch, the feeling that they are special to you and your business that will bring them back again and again. Here are some ways you can create loyalty through positive experiences.

If you’re like me — over delivering yet feeling too guilty to let go then I INSIST you read these tips right now. I promise they’ll help you grow into the “you” that’s meant to serve and make more, without overwhelming yourself or your clients.

It is interesting to observe those who are thriving in this climate. Whether they are selling products or services, a common trait is that they are giving tons of value up front to their clients and customers. This is clear before they have even sold anything to anyone.

Do you often send email acknowledgments of orders? Follow up emails to check that products were downloaded or received and the customer is happy? Emails requesting feedback or reviews? An auto-responder can save you time!

Are you "client friendly" - that is, are you easy to do business with? Do your clients cringe in frustration when trying to order something or pay you for services or do you make it as easy as possible? Here are just a few things you must incorporate into your business to be "client friendly."

Even if you have a sound business plan, smart, dedicated employees, and an award-winning product, all those positive points can be negated by bad customer service. Companies work hard to bring in customers, but once they have them, not all businesses do everything they can to keep their customers. Customer service isn't just about making people happy. It's also about dealing with complaints, which are almost inevitable. In order to build (and keep) your customer base: it's critical that companies follow the three C's: communication, courtesy, and criticism.

We often get so busy marketing, strategizing, and serving that we don't take the time to identify our core values for our businesses. When you stay on track with your business values, you naturally help more people and make more money.

Imagine your excitement: You just gave up your credit card info and plunked down money on a product from someone you've been following for a while, maybe even someone you've bought from before and really admire.

Even if you offer the best products or services in the world, buyer's remorse can happen! So here are a few places you can use to help prevent it with your clients and customers.

Did you know that marketing isn't only about getting your clients or customers? It's also about KEEPING them, and keeping them happy. That's a big key to growing your business, because not only will those customers themselves keep coming back to you for more, but they'll send their friends and colleagues as well.

Out of the blue, one of your clients wants to end their relationship with you. Shaken, your emotions suddenly go careening on a roller coaster ride, beginning with disbelief, making a quick stop in anger, then settling into a knot of panic in the pit of your stomach at the thought of all that lost income. But do you really have to settle for losing a client? Probably not. Here are 4 simple tips to support you if this situation should happen to you!

If you want to keep your clients motivated and accountable, one of the most fun ways to accomplish this is by creating friendly, healthy contests, or competitions that make it exciting for your clients to stretch beyond what they currently think is possible and create breakthrough results. Learn how.

It takes time as a self employed business owner to build up a reputation for great customer service -- and just a few careless moments can destroy it. The CARE model of customer service comes in handy to keep your customers happy, and your reputation sterling.

You can prevent difficult client situations from occurring and minimize those that pop up unexpectedly. Simply watch for the early warning signs and then follow the "Horse Whisperer for Business’ five tips for handling difficult clients with grace and elegance.

Learn tips for building relationships and guaranteeing repeat business.

If you're looking to give your cash flow a boost then the easiest place to find new business is with your current clients. I know you've probably heard this before but I bet you haven't heard exactly how to make this strategy work.

In researching how to add a touch of luxury to a professional service business, I discovered that it can easily be accomplished for free, or for just a few pennies. Learn how.

Here are three simple, respectful steps you can use to take great care of your fringe clients, increase your income, AND work less!

As a Soul Proprietor we get to connect and serve our perfect customers. How is this done? By deliberate attraction. This article teaches you how to attract and fall in love with your perfect clients.

Here are 5 simple tips to clear out your "client closet" and make room for new, exciting clients that will feel like instant favorites!

Did you know that marketing isn't only about getting your clients or customers? It's also about KEEPING them, and keeping them happy. That's a big key to growing your business, because not only will those customers themselves keep coming back to you for more, but they'll send their friends and colleagues as well.

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