In an era where globalization has made it easy for customers to easily substitute you, it is important to know about mistakes that can force your customers to think about your substitutes. I am saying this from my personal experience as a freelancer. I have been pathetic at maintaining a consistent customer service, though I have been able to maintain a consistency in my product quality. It so happened on two different occasions where my buyers threatened to find another seller. The reason for both the cases was the same – delay in order delivery. It is difficult to explain to your customers that there may have been issues at your end. I would say my customers have been extremely understanding since I provided them with a quality product. But, I would strongly suggest the following strategy for you (yes, I will implement it too) in order to maintain good customer relations and retain your loyal customers:
Rule 1. Be consistent
You cannot get work consistently if you are inconsistent in your customer service. You need to be consistent in everything, right from order delivery, to work quality and corporate communications.
Rule 2. Apologize
If you think that you have been at fault, accept it. Customers are more likely to appreciate your honesty and stay with you, rather than accepting your excuses.
Rule 3. Delight your customers
It is good to delight your customers by delivering a product or a service ahead of time or going out of the way to help them. Customers are more likely to come back to you when you do such favors.
Rule 4. Never cheat
It is a bad idea to cheat your customers. One bad reputation can have a cascading effect on your business since word of mouth exists even in a digitally active economy.
Rule 5. Communicate
Communication forms the key foundation of a successful business or freelance career. You must communicate with your customers and tell them about the progress of their project. Communicating effectively helps a lot. I was able to retain many customers and close more sales due to effective communication skills.
Rule 6. Let go
If you feel that customer has been too demanding and threatens to leave you without any fault of yours, let the customer leave. I say this because you can utilize the same time and efforts in attracting more customers and satisfying them.
I hope you found this post on customer service insights quite informative. Please feel free to post your comments and suggestions.