When a client is purchasing a service or product from you, he or she has numerous, unspoken expectations of you and your business. Meeting client expectations is not enough in today’s competitive business arena. Exceeding expectations is a must if you are to succeed.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where a client is less than satisfied with your service or product, or is behaving in a way that is difficult, here are some client service “do’s” and “don’ts” to keep in mind so that you do not escalate a difficult situation, but rather, handle it with grace and continue to build client satisfaction and loyalty:
- show empathy when a client is expressing a concern, frustration, etc.
- use appropriate body language – be aware of your facial expressions, body language, tone of voice
- use the client’s name in conversation to demonstrate you are focused on them
- proactively listen
- ask questions to clarify
- paraphrase what they have said or explained to you to demonstrate you heard them properly and understand the problem
- reply only when you know the facts
- respond in a pleasant, friendly, professional manner
- stay calm
- be patient
- find a solution – tell the client what you will DO
- provide alternatives
- follow up – demonstrate you are taking action and being proactive
- check client satisfaction within 24-48 hours to ensure problem is solved.
- ever say, “it’s not our policy”
- ever say “no” without offering an alternative
- ever say “I can’t”
- interrupt, especially if a client is showing anger or frustration
- jump to conclusions
- take things personally
- be demeaning
- lose your temper
- blame others
- escalate the volume of your voice to talk over the client
- end the conversation on a negative note or without a solution.
At the end of the day, your relationship with your client boils down to respect. And it is reciprocal. Etiquette dictates that you remain courteous and professional in any challenging client situation, always seeking a solution that works for your client, you and your business. This does not mean that you have to be submissive and let another person be aggressive, unkind or unreasonable with you. However, if you are able to approach a challenging client situation with grace – knowing what to do and what not to do – you will always come out on top, enabling you to cultivate long-term relationships with clients, build customer loyalty, and differentiate your business from the competition.
About Erin Crotty and BloomStra Consulting: After 14 years working as a lawyer and law firm manager, Erin Crotty was ready for a change. Trained through the Protocol School of Washington, the Conselle Institute of Image Management, and Pro-Active Business Leadership, Erin is now a certified executive coach, business etiquette, protocol and image management expert who has turned her passion into a thriving business – BloomStra Consulting, based in Ottawa, ON.
Erin helps her clients harness the power of etiquette and image management to build successful relationships in business and reach their professional goals. Her clients learn how to increase their confidence and credibility, distinguish themselves in any business or social situation and, ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition’.