Great customer service is key to creating long-term relationships with your clients
Keep your eyes on long-term goals
Develop an easy communication process
Do what it takes to fix problems
Customer service is a key attribute for businesses that develop long-term relationships with their customers. It is especially important for small businesses, who have to differentiate themselves from the big corporations through personalized service. Sometimes the day-to-day numbers and stresses of business can get in the way of great customer service. The customer service mindset is important to keep in the center of your shop’s values so you can develop long-term relationships with your clients.
“Make It Happen For The Customer.” This phrase underpins our customer service mindset. Whether it is in our communications process, how we deliver our paper, or how we fix our mistakes, we want to ensure that our customers know they come first. That’s the key for great customer service, focusing on the customers needs.
Great Service Develops Loyalty
Let’s be honest. There are lots of print shops that can do a great job for their clients, even if they might not be quite as good as yours. What keeps a customer from moving from your shop to someone else’s when they have a sale? A great customer experience. Here are a few key principles to developing a great customer experience.
Quick and Easy Communication
Customer service begins with the initial contact with your business. Your future client is looking for a print shop to do a job, and your communication process can make it easier or more difficult for them to find and hire you.
One key reminder: your communication process should be as frictionless as possible for a new customer.
Provide an email address instead of a contact field. Make sure someone checks that email address every day
Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner
Put your contact info on every page of your website
Remember to be nice and treat them like you’d want to be treated
Most of this is just a reminder of things you already know, but the stress of running a business and doing jobs sometimes means that we fall behind on email or messages.
We, at Randolph Paper, say that we are a “friend to the small printer since 1996.” It’s a value that we treat our family print shops like they are friends which means quick and easy communication. Pick up the phone, send us a quick email, or go through our website to order our products, and it always works. We just want to make it work for our clients.
Deliver on Your Promises
Delivering what you promise should seem obvious, but sometimes it’s harder than it seems. There are a variety of reasons why print shops or small businesses can’t deliver on some of their promises. More than one person has been burned when they said yes to a job that was just slightly out of reach, hoping some extra effort would get them there.
It takes real discipline to make sure that you can deliver on your promises every time, but it pays off when your customers get exactly what they expect. A smooth process with easy execution can go almost unnoticed by the customer, but they definitely notice when there’s a problem. Clients will return to a business that just gets the job done right the first time.
COVID disruptions have changed everyone’s business plans. Most people have delays that they didn’t before the pandemic started, and supply chain issues keep creating problems for everyone. Customers understand this, and they will get it if you’re upfront with them the whole time.
Fix Problems Quickly and Easily
Even the best print shop or small business is going to make a mistake. A product might get damaged in shipping. There’s an error in production. Anything can happen, and the best businesses have a plan to take care of it when it does.
The best example of this is Garmin’s customer service for their fitness watches and other devices. When one of their watches stops working, their customer service agents know how to diagnose the problem right away. Every time you call, they work through the solution quickly.
If they figure out that the watch is broken, they always have a remedy. There have been several instances where their watches have been a year out of warranty, but Garmin sends a replacement anyway. Even when that doesn’t happen, they offer a discounted product replacement right away.
The best part is that their customers don’t have to ask for these things. The customer service always offers their best solution right away. Their approach to customer service turns what could be a negative experience, a broken or malfunctioning device, into a positive one. It develops loyalty for the long haul.
The right customer service mindset is an important tool for small businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors. If you can make the customer’s experience easy and solve their problems quickly, they will keep coming back.
Keep Your Eyes On Long-Term Goals
Great customer service is a long-term strategy. Putting in extra work now costs a small business in time and money. It might be easier to focus on the quick buck and then move on. Businesses that want to keep clients coming back know they have to build the relationship by putting in that little bit of extra work now.
Add A Personal Touch
Small businesses can add a personal touch that large ones can’t. Randolph Paper likes to focus on the little things in our relationships with our clients. We
Call frequently to gauge satisfaction
Send out new product info regularly
Turn around sample requests quickly
Quote on a wide variety of items
Put popcorn in orders
Send out turkey before Thanksgiving
Have special offers at different times throughout the year
All these little things add up, and they develop customer loyalty over the long haul.