Customer Service Matters!

How do you feel about customer service in your business? Do you give stellar customer service to potential, current, and past clients? Does it matter?

YES, it does.

Customer Service Matters

Big or small, new or seasoned, every business should make every effort to provide the best possible customer service experience. I would even go so far as to stay that your customer service system is absolutely crucial if you want to take your business to the next level.

I recently had to contact a large company about an issue and there were several (not-so-good) things that stood out. As I reflecting on the experience, it made me re-think my customer service system. If you haven’t thought about your own customer service system for your business, here are some things to consider:

Make it Easy to Contact You

The first thing I did was go to the company’s website. I searched everywhere, to no avail, for an email address or phone number. I found a link to the help center, which gave a lot of topics, but none of them were solutions to my problem.

When I finally found a “contact us” link, it was to a web form. Each step required picking a choice but none of the choices came even close to what I needed. I wound up just making up choices so I can get to the part where I could explain my situation.

Lesson for us: Make your “contact me” link front and center on your home page and elsewhere on your website. Put it in the Footer, put it in the navigation bar, put it everywhere. Don’t make people, especially potential and current clients, have to hunt down a way to reach you.

Respond in a Timely Manner

Okay, so I finally get the form filled out, got the confirmation, and waited. And waited. And waited. The confirmation message said that someone would get back to me within 24-48 hours. Um, no. I got dead air. So frustrating.

Lesson for us: Try to get back to customers as soon as possible. Don’t ignore them. If you can, hire someone who is dedicated to handling customer support. Making your customers feel heard will make you a rock star. Believe me.

Do Everything in Your Power to find a Solution

When I didn’t get the results I needed via email, I was finally given a phone number to call. The representative was very nice but not particularly helpful. I was put on hold for 15 minutes, and she still came back saying she wasn’t authorized to help me. When I finally got a manager on the phone, he was nice but I had to push and negotiate just to get some semblance of satisfaction.

Lesson for Us: Do what ever you can to make things right. I am NOT a believer that the customer is always right; however, I am a believer in doing whatever possible (within reason) to make the customer happy. Even if the customer is a pain, go the extra mile. If you hire someone to do the customer service, give the person the authority to make the decisions necessary to help the customer.

Honestly, if I was able to contact someone quickly, if they responded in a timely manner, and made an honest effort to help me, I would have been a happy camper. Instead, I felt frustrated, ignored, annoyed, and not very favorable about the company.

Little things can go a long way, especially when it comes to giving first-class customer service.

 

Time for a Personal / Business Development Check-In

When you created your plans for the new year in December or the beginning of the year, did you create a plan for personal and business development? Do you have a system for personal development? No? Well, as we end the month of February, maybe it’s a good time to create one!

Personal and Business Development System

Why Do You need A Personal/Business Development System?

As a business and life coach, I realize that I am probably speaking to the choir here. You are in the business of helping people create a better life and business. You know, and probably teach, that ongoing personal and business development is important.

However, as a successful, busy coach, it is easy to let your own personal and business development to fall by the wayside. So, let me just give you a quick reminder of why it is so important:

  • It is a form of self-care. Taking time to learn something new can be invigorating and a chance to recharge your batteries, all while increasing your skill set or life.
  • It is a form of motivation. If you are feeling bored or stressed or in a slump, personal and business development can be just what you need to get re-inspired and excited about what you do and whom you do it for.
  • It is a form of idea generator. Learning something new about yourself or your business can spawn a whole bunch of ideas that you can use to take your business (and live) to the next level.
  • It is a form of income creation. All those ideas you get can be used to create new and different income streams into your business. Also, by learning a new skill or getting certified in something, can (and should) be a reason to raise your rates.

How to Create a Sustainable Personal / Business Development System?

Creating a personal or business development system shouldn’t be complicated. If it is, you won’t use it. So, keep it simple.

The first thing you want to do is create a list of the developmental things you have been wanting to do but haven’t made time for them, for whatever reason. List those books, webinars/videos, courses, without judgement, and get them down on paper.

Then, get out your calendar. Block out how much time you have (or want) for development. Hopefully, you will be able to make time weekly; however, at the bare minimum, plan something monthly. Or daily! Then, add those activities you listed to your calendar. IN PEN. Make them non-negotiable.

For example: I listen to an audio/video everyday while going about my morning/evening routine and sometimes while I am doing household chores. I also plan on reading one book a month (usually more, but one covers me if I have a particularly busy month.) I am also doing one course/webinar series a quarter, and for 2019, I am integrating one 3-8 day retreat for the year.

Need some Ideas and Inspiration?

Don’t have any particular books or courses that you want to take? You can find a lot of topic ideas on tedtalks.com, teachable.com, and others. A simple search will bring up a ton of suggestions. Just pick a topic and go.

As for books, I have a couple of suggestions: Profit First by Michael Michalowicz and Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron.

I learned about Profit First through Tina Forsyth. It is a game changer. Seriously, I think it should be read by every entrepreneur that exists. It will change how you look at your business (and personal) finances.

I heard about Chasing Excellence through Crystal Paine, blogger at Money Saving Mom. Ben Bergeron is a Crossfit coach to the most top-rated Crossfit athletes in the world. Now, with my cerebral palsy, I am not ever going to be a Crossfit expert athlete, and neither will you probably. Don’t let that stop you from reading this book. It has some amazing insights and lessons that are applicable to daily life for everyone. Get. This. Book.

Now it’s time to get to work: get out that paper, create your list, get out your calendar, and fill it in!

Let’s Talk About Back up Systems

You do have a back up system for your computer, right? It always surprises me how many people, including some smart and savvy coaches, who don’t have a back up system in place.

If you are one of those who don’t have any back up system in place, I highly encourage you to get going and put one in place. It is truly one of the most basic things you can do to protect your business.

A True Story:

Many years ago, I didn’t think I needed a back up system. Sure, I would save a few things on to my thumb drive or Dropbox, but had no real system in place. Then, unexpectedly, the unimaginable thing happened. My computer crashed. Went kaput. Totally died.

I was able to retrieve a lot of the important things, and thankfully, I didn’t lose anything too serious that was business related. But, I still lost A LOT. And, I was never able to recover those files I lost. Some of them were pictures of my son, which isn’t terribly important, but saddened me, never the less.

AND, it was a wake up call. I put several backups in place! Thus, when my previous to this computer started crashing on a regular basis (had the computer over 8 years!), I was covered. Yes, it was a royal pain every time it crashed; however, I never lost a single file.

Believe me, you may think backing up your computer is a waste of time. It isn’t. And, it doesn’t have to take any time. You can set it up so the back ups happen automatically. You may not think it will happen to you, but it can. So be prepared.

How to Back up Your Files:

At a very basic level, have all of your files saved to Google Drive or Dropbox – or both. It may be redundant, but I have all my files (business and personal) saved in both Google Drive and Dropbox. That way, if you can’t access one of the for some reason, you can hopefully, access the other.

If you don’t want to use Dropbox or Google Drive, there are other storage options such as One Drive. Just pick at least two to start saving your files.

Secondly, consider using an online backup service such as Carbonite or Mozy. PC World has a great review of the best online services available. If you need a budget friendly service, PC World recommends Backblaze which is only $5 per month.

Finally, you really want to be safe, consider using a desktop backup program. Again, PC World has a great post with the best desktop backup programs, several ones that are free.

Really, if you use the free options, there are NO EXCUSES for not backing up your files! Doing so will save you from a lot of problems and headaches if (dare I say, when) your computer crashes.

And, guess what? If you don’t want to take the time to research and set up a backup system, it would make a great task to pass on to your team. 🙂

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P.S. On a completely different note, I want to give you a heads up that effective March 31, 2019, I will be discontinuing my Done For You Services. If you aren’t ready for full-on OBM services, but could use some help in your business, now is a good time to get that help. If you are DFYS client at the time the services discontinue, you will be grandfathered in and stay a client, but no new DFYS clients will be taken on after March 31, and the number of clients I will be taking on is limited, so don’t wait, if you are interested. 🙂