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Did you connect with your clients today? Did you make them feel appreciated and cared for?

If not, you need to consider doing it right now.

Regardless of what type of business you have, customer service is the central theme behind any business. Your goal is to serve your clients while earning an income. The term client can mean many different things depending on your role and what sector you serve.

If you are a Business-to-Business provider, your ideal client could be an entity, but you still interact with limited people within that entity. Therefore, you serve those you work with while maintaining the standards set when the relationship started. Are you meeting the expectations of your contract? If you provide a service to individuals, are you handling their needs efficiently and effectively? Do they understand the process? You need to set clear expectations and standards for your business. Do you sell a product? Awesome - do you provide them with clear directions on how to use the product and what steps to take if it doesn't work properly or is damaged?

Providing the BEST customer service means there is no answer to these questions other than Yes. There is no availability to be lackluster in your delivery - the quality of work or timeliness. There are no excuses. If you cannot deliver as promised, you share that information with your client immediately so adjustments can be made so the client knows their best interest is your main concern. You are more likely to be appreciated for being honest than just missing a deadline or delivery date without communicating it to the client.

This means you have clear methods of communication. Are your procedures explained from the beginning, or is it a cluster of putting out fires as they come up?

You need to have clear procedures for your business practices. How do you communicate? How often? What are your hours? How do you deliver your products? Are you accountable for your team, if you have one? Are you asking questions if you don't understand something? How do receive information from your clients? How are you paid? How do you handle unsatisfied clients? Do you have a refund policy? Do you have payment plans? Do you offer drafts of work? How many revisions are included? Do you work for an hourly rate or by a monthly retainer? Are you offering a one-time product? Do you have a process for damaged products? Is it easy to follow directions on the return process?

WOW - that was a long list of questions.

Those are questions that need to be answered during your business set-up process, not as you bring clients into the mix. Communicating all of those answers effectively to your clients shows you truly care about providing quality services and products. Not that it is an afterthought to think about the customer experience.

Yes, Customer Experience.

Every time a potential customer interacts with you, whether it is by email, phone, a look at your website, social media, or video you need to have a positive Customer Experience.

They should learn how you solve a problem, provide an essential service, give an amazing product, or teach them something new. How do you provide a positive experience for your clients? Of course, you cannot please everyone, but those who are looking for your solutions shouldn't have to work to get questions answered or leave more confused than when they started.

It should be clearly explained, documented, and easy to understand. Remember, not everyone has your level of expertise, so you need to explain your products or services in a manner that anyone can understand. Your audience should be able to clearly understand your mission and how you plan to accomplish it.

I am sure you have been to a company's site and left more confused than when you started. That is not the way to make your clients or potential clients happy. Make it clear, simple, and have an expected outcome. I don't know about you, but I don't like visiting websites than send me in a never-ending circle. One page leads to another that leads back to where you started. What?!

That doesn't help me find a solution I may be interested in achieving. It is a frustrating waste of my time and energy, which are in high demand.

Do you have a clear mission? Do you have steps to achieve that mission? Do you take your clients on a simple-to-follow journey that answers questions and provides solutions?

If so, GREAT! You are on your way to having a list of satisfied clients who will become your best cheerleaders.

If not, GET BUSY! You've got some work to do. Create a method that solves the roadblocks in your messaging and statement so your clients can find you.

What's Next you ask; well your customer service journey is not over yet.

If you answered Great, the next thing is to create an atmosphere where you grow the relationships started when a client makes a purchase. You made the sale, but it isn't good practice to ghost them after the sale. You want them to know they matter to you. If they purchase a product, follow up with emails on additional ways to use the product that maybe aren't well known, or give them the opportunity to share their experiences. If they receive a service, continue to provide them superior service. Once the "Honeymoon" ends, remind them you are still there, excited to support them. Ask them to share an experience, both positive and negative, that occurred recently for them. Share something of value to show a solution for the negative or a way they can capitalize on the positive. Keep adding value while you still provide services to them.

As you come up with new ways to share your expertise with potential new clients, always offer your existing clients that same product or service in advance. Not only are you creating a benefit to already being a client, but you also have a built-in test audience. To me, that is a win-win for everyone involved.

The more clients you have, the more you learn what works and what doesn't for your audience. So, you should be continually tweaking your offers, procedures, and processes. Yes, automating portions of the process is needed, but it isn't a once-and-done process. You have to keep evolving. As your business grows so must your customer service procedures. When was the last time you followed the purchase timeline your clients' experience? You need to follow it from start to finish.

Did you receive messages in a timely manner? In your emails did the {Name} pre-fill or does it go out with {Name} in the subject line? I won't open emails that come to me this way. It means this delivery was not important to the seller, therefore, I wasn't important to them. It matters. Every piece of the sales process matters.

If you cannot be tactical in your review of the process have a trusted partner or friend follow through the process to give you feedback. Be sure it is someone who can be honest with you and knows how important sharing this product of information is to you. Don't pick the person who wants to keep you safe. Pick the person who understands this is a non-negotiable for you. ​

Once you work out any kinks, then you are ready to share it with your audience. Of course, you don't wait for perfection, just be sure the pieces all work properly. It will never be perfect as it will continually evolve. Just make sure the system works.

Customer Service has to be a primary focus in creating your business and process. Yes, making sales matters, but what happens during and after the sale is equally as important. Make sure you give it the care and attention it deserves.

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