A few months ago, I had a conversation with a few individuals who are interested in customer service and take it seriously. At the time, we were thinking aloud — how does a small business owner or independent contractor know when they are doing a good job? Especially in the area of taxes, financial services or insurance. Think accountant, financial advisor or insurance agent.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to some of these professionals (independent contractors) to get their take on how they know when they are providing excellent customer service.
SOME FEEDBACK FROM THESE PROFESSIONALS
If you meet with your clients, they are interested in what you’re saying or are engaged, and they return 6 months or a year later to do it all over again, you’re probably meeting or exceeding their needs.
If they return your calls or feel comfortable to call you back, you’re probably doing a good job.
If clients open up and allow you to get to know them over time, chances are you’re providing good service.
Another example is receiving verbal thanks, a card, or small gifts from time to time; it appears to indicate they appreciate your service.
Sometimes, there’s an opportunity to ‘wow’ customers who’ve had negative customer service experiences before in the same industry. Because their idea of what service should look like in this industry is low, you have a great opportunity to “wow” them with your care and concern and make them permanent customers.
If you’re getting new clients while maintaining your existing ones, you’re probably doing a good job.
If your current clients are referring clients, you’re probably doing a good job.
If you’re losing clients, you are dying.
Even if you’re losing just a few clients, you are dying a slow death. Obviously, the purpose of business is to grow.
You can read people in terms of how they respond to your calls or meetings. Are they engaged? Do they enjoy speaking with you? Do they want to meet with you? Do they implement most of what you recommend or at least respect your professional opinion? If the response is ‘yes’ most of the time, you’re probably doing a good job.
Set the expectation to new and old clients that you provide a personal approach and strong customer service to their financial, accounting or insurance needs. Tell them you care. Tell them you will proactively call them if changes are needed to their portfolio or their insurance needs change.
Once you set a higher level of expectation, do what you say you’re going to do. Your clients will appreciate and remember your excellent service. You will become remarkable.