I know, I always seem to be harping on about customer service but seriously, it is imperative you get this right if you want to stay in business – particularly during an economic downturn and with the increase in the number of customers now heading online for their needs. The Sunday Mail recently reported Queensland has some of the worst customer service in the country, despite it being touted as THE tourist destination.

I recently experienced some awesome customer service from a boarding kennel at Purga. A couple of days after we returned from a short break away we received a letter – well our dog did! – from the kennel acknowledging we could have used a competitor and thanking us for choosing them. It included a customer satisfaction survey (reply paid) and a scratchie. We immediately picked up the phone and booked our dog in for another 7-day stay later in the year.

Consider that return on investment. They spent around $2 for repeat business. Not to mention we’re telling everyone we know about them! Not bad – and not hard.

It doesn’t take much to treat your customers/clients with respect – and dare I say it … gratitude. And as a business you should be grateful for them – without them you’d have no business. Your staff should be grateful for them – without them they’d be unemployed.

And don’t forget your regular clients/customers. One bad experience and they’ll be off like a shot. Even if you have a long-term, excellent relationship you cannot afford to become complacent. Treat every customer like they’re coming to you for the first time. The better your service the more your customers will expect and the greater the disappointment if you let them down … just once. You must be consistent – and your staff must consistently provide top notch customer service if you want to keep ahead of the competition.

It doesn’t have to be hard – or expensive as the $1 scratchie shows! A simple, warm and genuine greeting to EVERY customer from your staff may be all that differentiates you from the competition but will get customers coming back to you because they’ve been made feel special. It could be more tangible – like offering after-sales service, an extended warranty or discounts for cash purchases. For service-based businesses how about a card on your client’s birthday, or the anniversary of the day they commenced business with you?

‘Thank you’ is something we don’t seem to hear much of these days – but as a business owner, failing to say it – regularly and consistently – to your clients and customers could be the difference between maintaining your market share and losing it to your competition.

©Lyn Prowse-Bishop

Author's Bio: 

Award-winning virtual assistant, Lyn Prowse-Bishop, MVA ASO CAVB PVAA is owner/manager of Executive Stress Office Support (eSOS), specialising in medico-legal digital transcription, virtual author support and executive personal assistant services for clients around the world.

One of Queensland’s most respected and well known virtual assistants, Lyn is also founder of the Australian Virtual Business Network, serves as Australian representative on international committees looking at standards and certification for the VA industry, and is a foundation steering committee member of the annual Online International Virtual Assistants Convention. She hosts Australia’s first internet radio show/podcast for the VA industry – Virtual Business Show – and is Queensland representative on the Board of Independent Contractors Australia.

How can you spend less time in the office and more enjoying life? Visit her site or email lyn@execstress.com to find out.