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It's a competitive market, no matter what your product or service, and good business is all about providing excellent customer service. On average it costs 5 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an old one. As a business owner, I prefer to keep the old one, as I'm sure you'd agree. How can you make your product or service special? What do you provide that makes customers want to keep coming back? Great customer service is a low cost high impact way to impress your customers and prospects.

In a recent study done by Acumen Research group, people were surveyed regarding what made them behave loyally versus leaving a long term relationship. Amazingly, 43 perc ent abandoned a provider because of a poor experience with a staff member, and 30 per cent went elsewhere because they felt they were not treated as a valued customer. Stellar customer service is not something you decide on a whim to do, it must be the lifeblood of your organization. Without stellar customer service, you become lost in the sea of competition only to be swallowed by your competitors.

So, "How do you do it?"

First, think about your offerings. Make a list of what other organizations in your industry offer compared to what you do. If you were on the outside looking in, who would you choose. What might you be able to offer to give yourself a leg up on the competition? Generate a list of ideas that you feel would differentiate or set you apart from others. Keep in mind that offering the lowest price is not necessarily the answer to winning versus your competition. Listening to client concerns and responding appropriately is.

Second, take a good look at your ideas. Which ideas are doable? If it isn't an idea that can be done well all the time then it isn't worth implementing. Ensure that they are realistic and they will create results.

Third, implement an idea and stick to it. Educate clients and prospects so they know what you are offering. All your literature and advertisements should reflect that you are providing something as part of your customer service campaign. Brand it, so people know what to expect when they make the decision to work with your organization.

Some examples might include, providing a free item with a certain number of product purchases, a referral fee or discount, a complimentary how-to course, a discounted item when they buy a service or product from you, a birthday card, thank you card, or "just thinking of you" card.

Providing stellar customer service should be part of your business, everyday. By successfully taking care of others, you will find you will quickly have a business that continues to grow. Keep in mind there is truth to the statement that "the customer is always right", so don't forget it in your daily interactions and you'll reap the rewards!

About the Author:

Tim Hagen is President of Sales Progress LLC, a sales consulting and performance management firm.

 



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