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Providing Excellent Service in Your Small Business One Interaction at a Time

A few months ago, I talked with a few individuals interested in customer service and taking 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 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 occasionally; it indicates that they appreciate your service.

Sometimes, there’s an opportunity to ‘wow’ customers who’ve had negative customer service experiences 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.

You're probably doing a good job 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.

If you're losing clients, you are dying.

Even if you lose just a few clients, you die slowly. The purpose of business is to grow.

You can read people by 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? You're probably doing a good job if the response is ‘yes’ most often.

Set the expectation for new and old clients that you provide a personal approach and strong customer service for their financial, accounting, or insurance needs. Tell them you care. Tell them you will proactively call them if their portfolio or insurance needs change.

Once you set a higher level of expectation, do what you say you will do. Your clients will appreciate and remember your excellent service. You will become remarkable.

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