We all know that retaining customer loyalty is at the heart of a successful service based business. Happy customers will sing your praises, they will offer you more work and be your best advocates when talking to their own friends and networks.

Getting new customers from scratch is a time intensive and expensive activity. There is no certainty that you will get the piece of work at the end of the process and even if you do get a new customer they could be an extremely difficult one to manage. That is why retaining customers has to be so important for all businesses, and especially service ones.

But even difficult customers can, over time, become your greatest fan. And when that happens your ROI starts to look all the better for it.

When it comes to generating good customer service I believe that there are four main steps to getting it right.

The first is to show interest in your client. Real interest, not feigned interest. That means asking questions about their business. Why they started it? What motivates them? What frustrates them or holds them back? What they see as the next important objective? What does the big picture look like? What are they doing all this hard work for? From all this questioning it is much simpler to then understand how you can help to resolve some of these problems for your client. In other words, the simple question “How can I help?” will almost not need to be expressed.

The second aspect is to be responsive. So when they change their plans or they have to respond to a change affecting their business, then this is an opportunity to show that you are on their side. Demonstrating that you can be trusted to support them through thick and thin will be repaid with loyalty and openness.

The third aspect is to be responsible. That means recognising your own limitations and mistakes. Not every service business is capable of undertaking every task that is asked of them. However if you can find someone else who can work alongside you with the requisite skills, maybe just for that one project, then you are creating value for everyone in the arrangement.

The four and final matter is to be human. Providing a service business is a human-to-human thing. It is ultimately about giving someone a sense of resolution to a problem that has been bedevilling him or her. If you can take their worry away and at the same time show that you have all the human qualities that they value highly then, I suggest, your client will want to deal with you again. What’s more is that their sense of pleasure derived from the experience will subconsciously affect them so they will seek out opportunities to deepen the relationship further.

Running a good service orientated business is very much about being concerned for your client and demonstrating that have human qualities that show you can be trusted. It really isn’t Rocket Science.

Simon Bruce

Author Simon Bruce

Simon qualified as a Chartered accountant with BDO London in 1982 and then began a career taking in banking, manufacturing and international trading working in UK, Europe and Australia. He has worked with publicly quoted companies, family companies and start-ups.

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