It will be the difference-maker in 2015!
The last few days I have read so many articles about 2015 trends in the areas of content marketing, social media, building a personal brand and creating a mobile website. While all of these channels are important ways to connect with clients, the one piece that usually gets overlooked is customer service. This really came to light to me when I received the results back from a client survey I sent out this past month.
People expect great service
People want to be part of an experience
People like to go back to places where they are wanted
People want an opportunity to share their thoughts and comments about your service
If you have never sent out a client survey, you are really missing the boat. There is so much good information and if you really spend the time in developing a short, concise set of questions and you have defined the group you intend to target, (hopefully a mix of long-term clients and new clients) you will receive some great information.
Building a strong client service network
Based on the past four years of client survey data, I am making it a point to really develop some plans to continue to build a solid network and meet the needs of three distinct types of clients.
Client service network
It starts with clients! I have learned that listening to clients’ needs and wishes can really paid off. I can look back to the survey I sent out in 2013 with respect to this topic and show three specific ideas that came out of that survey were planned and implemented as a part of our process and it has paid off in a big way. In addition, it is critical that client questions are answered everyday with a trained client service staff.
Internal client service network
It is critical that employees’s needs are also met. Employees want to be a part of a strong team. Many employees have great ideas and bring specific knowledge and skills for particular projects. It is critical to have employees involved with project work.
Outside client service network (More of a focus for 2015)
It is critical to continue to work with expert vendors, contractors and managers outside of your company. Companies need to constantly update technology and services at a frantic pace. Companies need to establish relationships with key vendors to help assist the company in completing projects in a more timely manner. For 2015, this type of networking will be critical. In addition, it will also be very competitive. The last thing you want is for one of your competitors to gain an advantage with an outstanding vendor resource.
Also consider who you are connecting to online through sites like Twitter and Linkedin. Be selective and keep these people informed of the progress of your company.
Client Service in 2015 – (Do you still need more reasons why client service is the new direction?)
- Measuring progress – Client comments on surveys are very direct and can really indicate areas for improvement. In addition, it is important to manage client complaints and feedback. Establish a system to handle client complaints so these type of issues are not repeated in the future.
- Answering client questions by phone, email and online. – If your company can answer questions in a timely manner, you will see the direct results of these actions through increased sales and new accounts.
- It will help you put your marketing campaign in perspective and focus more on answering client needs and less on trying to engage people online through social media.
- Addressing internal client service needs will help improve communication at all levels of the company because employees will be able to see the company direction more clearly and understand where the company is going in the future.
Effective client service means working closer with people and establishing solid relationships.
It really comes down to having strong relationships with your current employees, vendors and clients. If you work hard at building and reestablishing these relationships, the word will get out on other channels that your company cares. In 2015, focus more time and energy on client service endeavors and you will see results. I know the last two years have really helped me change my focus and in the process I can easily show the ROI with respect to meeting and exceeding client service demands.