I recently read an article by Forbes about ways in which you aren’t putting customer service first. Customer Service should always be first. When a client calls, do you pick up or do you let it ring & go to voice mail? When they pop in for a quick chat do you allow them the respect & time?

The article claims that businesses want to see advertising that directly correlates to their specific needs. So how do we do that?

First off, research! Research is anyone’s best friend regardless of where the emphasis is. It could be trying to get your next big job, it could be trying to impress your Boss or even something in your home life like how to get in good with the new neighbors. Whatever it might be there is always a time when you need to do field work & get to know the subject at hand. So it is no different when you are trying to reel in new business &/or keep your steady clients happy. What makes them tick? What makes them upset or where do you get the most feedback & conversation. Those topics are imperative to continued growth. Check out the Houston Chronicle’s article on Methods of Customer Service Research.

Inaccessibility is the articles next bullet & this rings true for any company. Be accessible. Pick up your phone! Check & respond to those emails, calls and texts. Be present in the ‘now’ with your clients. Even if its a simple response like, “Give me 45 minutes to wrap things up & I will give you a call.” That makes all the difference! Let them know they are important & that you notice them.

My Husband listens to a lot of business books on the way to work each day & one thing he mentions that rings true with alot of them is to listen. He always tells me to, “Pick up on those social cues!” He even tells our children who honestly are not good at this at all to learn its value. Pay close attention to the details being given in the subtle everyday meet & greets. Forbes wrote another article on non-verbal cues & its a good one. If your Boss comes up to you & asks you for an update on the latest project you are heading up & you are rubbing your arms & looking away from his persistent eye contact do you think that they will take your word over your non-verbal cue of insecurity & lack of confidence? Most likely not. They will probably ask for more updates & get someone to assist on the project. Evoke confidence & master the art of communication. Be focuses & be present in the conversation. A cool trick I try to do is to repeat to whom ever I am in a discussion with what they just said. This shows I am listening, but if you say it in a manner of a question then this opens up the respondent to continue feeling confident that they are being heard & they tend to expand more.

Keeping sight of your company’s goals & making known progress is also a token of customer service. When a client sees that you are bringing in more business they tend to feel more confident in knowing they utilize your services as well.

Team work is the dream work! I found this article at action.com by just googling the words my Husband & I always say to our kids. You can not have Karen starting drama at the water cooler over what Rhonda wrote on her personal Facebook. Team work needs to evoke building each other up & in the end that is respect. Respect for each individual & the ability to have camaraderie. Does your team have an end goal & is it organized in such a way that each member has a part in the collaboration? Is there a safe way to communicate dis-satisfaction in a team mate or communication practices in place? Does your team celebrate its achievement together? Or is someone often times left out? Its as simple as making each member feel included. Making sure each individual is heard & understood.

Give updates! Let your clients know where you stand on the project. Even if it means a bit more work sending an email with a report. Your customer will feel valued & think it’s over the top to get those updates. So pencil in time each day to do that. It doesnt have to be an essay. Maybe its a quick call or even text.

What are your tips for good customer service? One of my favorite companies to work for was a restaurant that is no longer in business but I worked there during college at Stephen F. Austin State University. At the time I was a waitress & working my way through college. One thing my Manager did that I thought was awesome was when a customer was unhappy, he always smiled & let them talk. He always said, ” How can I make this experience better next time?” Man, that was gold there! Almost every customer responded with a different tone that wasn’t as upset as they started with. Then he always followed up with, “I hear you & will definitely keep that in mind. Now can I offer you a dessert on the house?” It didn’t matter what the cause for the issue was the customer always left with a better mindset then what would have occurred had the Manager not had the patience & respect for their time & value.