The Keys to Great Client Service

“Most services, technologies and procedures can be copied and simulated, but excellent client experiences can really set your firm apart and give you a unique selling proposition.”

Excellent client service has the potential to give your firm a real competitive advantage. Most services, technologies and procedures can be copied and simulated, but excellent client experiences can really set your firm apart and give you a unique selling proposition. What are the keys to great client service?

Anticipate needs
Anticipating needs starts with an empathy and understanding of your clients’ unique needs – current and potential. Ensure that you have a system in place to gather information about your clients. You should be able to handle unique needs, surprises, sense the customer’s mood and adapt accordingly. This also includes a willingness to learn– providing good customer service is a continuous learning process.

Exceed expectations
 Over-delivering and wowing your client is excellent customer service. It’s important to set realistic client expectations, and then not just meet them, but exceed them. Strive for impeccable customer service, by going above and beyond the norm. Make it a non-negotiable in your firm – from top to bottom. Achieve high standards of reliability, responsibility and dependability, which are so frequently absent in business today.

Define moments of truth
Moments of truth relate to those situations where clients write in, call in or walk into your firm. A bad client experience at any point in the customer lifecycle can ruin the trust relationship. In addition to making sure the right skills are demonstrated in every moment of truth, you need to be sure they are being demonstrated consistently. Pay the most attention to key touchpoints, but make sure you have a full view of the customer experience.

Communicate and give feedback
Provide ample opportunities for clients to provide feedback throughout all stages of the interaction. Communicate with your client and ask how they feel about your firm, services and staff. Collect client feedback by using online surveys, social media, phone and email, follow-ups and reviews. Positive feedback is always great, but negative feedback can provide valuable insight that you can use to improve areas of your firm, your services and the overall customer experience. It also presents the opportunity for you to address client complaints and turn all experiences into positive ones.

Empower employees 
Empower your employees to make good decisions and provide a better customer service experience. Establish clear ideas about how your firm should present itself, which in turn leads to rules and guidelines that your employees should communicate to customers. Training your employees to make decisions on their own without the typical manager’s approval provides a faster response to clients, making your employees more productive, and creating an exceptional service experience.

Define and measure excellence
“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them” – John C. Maxwell. Every firm should make an effort to determine what service excellence means to them. By defining service excellence through a customised service design, service blueprint and service strategy, a firm can set the standard by which the staff can be trained, equipped, measured and held accountable. Regular client feedback via surveys can assist in determining areas of improvement. The more a firm actively seeks feedback from clients, the more they can narrow the gap between expectation and perceptions.

For more information contact Tobie vd Merwe at tobie@succeedgroup.co.za

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.