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Leslie Groene Website Homepage December 2019, Vol. 173

Customer Service: Good, Bad, and Ugly- Part 2

Don't make mistakes.
Mistakes degrade a company's integrity.
Whether it's a simple invoicing mistake, or a service failure, it's better to just not make them if at all possible.
That's one of the reasons so many companies put so much emphasis on TQM (Total Quality Management) and TQC (Total Quality Control).
If you don't have a quality control plan in place, you might want to give that some thought.
If you do make a mistake or a problem arises, admit it immediately, resolve the issue and make restitution.

Keep your promises.
Remember when a person's word was his bond?
For whatever reasons, that just doesn't seem as big a deal as it did 30 or 40 years ago. But it should be.
Customers expect you to do what you say you're going to do.
Become someone known for keeping her word, and for running a business that does so as well.

Emphasize value, not price.
Unless you're Walmart or Amazon, chances are good you're not going to be able to consistently compete on price.
But you can compete on value.
Value is as much about quality of products for a fair price, innovative solutions that deliver a ROI, as it is about customer service before, during and after a sale.

Be responsive.
Respond to requests in a timely manner. Clients need to know that you value them and their business.
If you keep them waiting or forget about something you were supposed to do for them, you won't keep your clients for very long.

Follow up with your customers.
Contact your customers after the job is finished, or after the purchase is complete and ask them what their experience was like, and if they were satisfied.
If they were happy with everything, great. . .ask for a referral. If not, try to make things right.
When you build a business that will define good customer service, you are laying the foundation of a company that will also define success.

Focus Point

99. Keep practicing the fundamentals.

At every stage of our careers, we need to stay focused on the fundamentals of our businesses. We have included these 100 focus points for this purpose. We hope that you will pay close attention to these points and commit many to memory so that your behavior will be automatic in the future.

Once you have a solid foundation to build upon, you can apply the principles of momentum, consistency, patience and perseverance (while maintaining your balance) and build a satisfying career in the industry of your choice.

Tom cites numerous analogies from the world of professional sports to make his case for the importance of being fundamentally sound in business. Sports fans know the evolution in the strategic approach to offense and defense in collegiate and professional football. Despite all of the advances and sophistication of today's game (with today's emphasis on the "West Coast" philosophy for example), the outcome often comes down to execution of the fundamentals.

Usually, the team with the best execution and the fewest number of turnovers wins the game.

Also one can observe the annual Major League Baseball ritual of spring training. Whether the team's headquarters is in Florida or Arizona, the important focus during this time is always on the fundamentals of the game. This is where the returning starters or rookie hopefuls focus on the proper way to run the bases or lay down an important bunt. Players learn "the rules" of the game in a controlled setting so that each team can play fundamentally sound baseball all season. We've given you these 100 focus points so that you can focus on them and apply them where appropriate. We believe that if you do this, you will be on your way to a successful career.

What does this include?

  1. Learn everything you can about your product or service.
  2. Communicate each and every relevant sales benefit to your prospective clients and make a complete case for utilizing you and your firm.
  3. Roll up your sleeves and put in the hours that are required to find clients who can use your services and who actually will make transactions happen.
  4. Provide these clients with superior service throughout the entire transaction.
  5. Stay in touch with clients and find new and creative means of reaching new and better clients.
  6. Conduct yourself in an honorable and distinguished manner throughout your career.
  7. Stay hungry and stay current in your practice while protecting your niche as an expert in a given area of your industry.