We all have (or should have) clear customer service protocols in place to ensure every customer interaction is a great one. Our reputation means the world to us, and there is no faster way to harm this valuable asset than to drop the ball in a customer interaction.
With the volume of wire we purchase, I was trying to negotiate directly with a wire manufacturer to be our exclusive provider of bulk wire so I could purchase all of it in one place. So for several days I have been trying to negotiate and place this order. Emails and phone calls have gone unanswered; I shouldn’t have to beg a company to take my money. So now I’m looking for someone else to provide all of our wire needs.
This experience got me thinking about ensuring that we all have clear customer service metrics in place, so we don’t disappoint a loyal and happy customer by dropping the ball. Some of these policies actually lead directly to increased business as well.
1) Set a maximum time to return an email or phone call. Do you have a clearly stated company policy for the timeframe in which a call or email must be answered? Our standard is four hours. If it looks like it may go longer than that, the client at least gets an acknowledgement of their communication with a reply that tells them we received their message and will call them back within the next 24 hours.
2) Set a
proposal follow-up protocol. We do a phone call follow-up on every proposal that goes out the door, within 48 hours.
3) Send out a confirmation for installs or meetings. We confirm every meeting or install three days in advance and again the day before to eliminate any miscommunications. The last thing we want is down time because a client thought our meeting was next Wednesday, instead of today. And our clients are happy to know that we are professional and on the ball.
4) Make on-site cleanliness a priority. All techs and installers wear booties on our jobs. every job site is covered with paper and/or plastic to facilitate cleanup and every job not on a construction site is “Swiffered” upon completion.
5) Set a job completion follow-up schedule. We call or email all customers within 48 hours following their installation to make sure everything is working properly and they are happy with the products and services we provided.
6) Establish a 30-day post-job follow-up. We again reach out one month after completion of a project to ensure things are good and to make sure no minor tweaks are necessary.
7) Maintain annual communications with clients. We contact each customer at least once a year to inform them of firmware upgrades, new products or services, and to check in on them in general to see if any needs or usage patterns have changed.
By following these steps, our customers are happier and tend to help us generate more business from them in the form of referrals. Let me know in the comments section if you have anything to add.
+Todd Anthony Pumais president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.