Improving Relationships with Clients & Customers
Whether you’re the head of an advertising agency, the president of a design firm, or a freelance designer exchanging emails with a customer, you need to be educated in the world of customer service. After all, we are dealing with people – customers or clients – always. And whether we want to admit it or not, they’re always keeping score. Their opinions can drive – or destruct – your business – so make it a global issue.
We talked with Zappos, a company who’s rocking the customer service world, to see what lessons we could learn about improving relationships with customers and clients ourselves here at Go Media. Find their quotes throughout the article, as well as our thoughts on the matter below.
Recently, we added customer chat to our sites – the Arsenal, Mockup Everything and Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. The ability to connect with clients, fest attendees and customers has been extremely refreshing and has conversions as well. The best part is being able to talk one on one with the people that visit our sites day to day. We learn more about who they are, what they are looking for and how we can fulfill their needs. This has taken a lot of the guess work out of the question: “How do we make our clients and customers happy?” Because, well, they can just tell us.
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Ensure Your Entire Company is Focused on Customer Service
We’ve established the fact that customer service is at the very foundation of your business. It should not simply relegated to those folks answering the phones or on chat. Customers and clients do call or connect with other employees, you know. Gasp! Are those other employees equipped to serve your customers with as much knowledge, love and care?
Cassie from Zappos recommends, “1. Hire the right people – those that are in alignment with your company culture. 2. Train them well – make sure they fully understand and are immersed in your company culture and expectations of the culture. All of our new employees, regardless of dept or job, goes through 4 weeks of new hire training where they learn about our culture and what we mean by Delivering Wow through Service. Everyone learns how to do the job in our call center and takes customer calls. 3. Treat them like adults and let them do their job.”
Integrate Customer Service into Company Culture
When your client or customer calls, or walks into your office, how will they know they’re at ( > your office here < ) ? What will make your call, your visit stand out? Will it be the enthusiasm in your voice and sense of humor combined with your unparalleled customer service? Or the way you ask your customer silly questions to fill the silence? Make it memorable, instead of as dry as when you call the cable company…
“Zappos customer service is all about the culture and the people who drive it. The idea is, anyone can be taught how to run a computer or answer phone calls, but we go through several interviews to make sure we’re a fit with the culture here. Part of that culture is making the experience of contacting us more personable and not so robotic. We like to chat it up with customers even it doesn’t have anything to do with our site, or products. We call it, the Zappos experience. We want to make customer feel good about contacting us and not the “Oh man, I gotta call the DMV” feel.” – Miggs El Rudo, Customer Service Representative, Zappos
Encourage, Allow Time Personal Connection
Many times, customers feel rushed off the phone, client meetings are cut short. Cutting a meeting off at the end of an hour or hurrying off customer chat can be seen as cold, uncaring. What if you gave the other party the time they needed to be heard?
“We try to be more personable here so that we can connect with the customer a deeper level than just your average customer / rep relationship. We show empathy and are more caring. We try to relate to a customer on any level they feel comfortable with and often times, it ends in us sending them a card or small gift. We call it PEC, or Personal, Emotional Connection. For example, before I came to Live Chat, I answered phones. My longest call was 4 hours. This customer needed to swap out her jeans because the were too small. She was talking about how her husband was on her case about gaining weight and then I expressed to her my weight issues as well, and that was it. We just went on and on for hours.” – Miggs El Rudo, Zappos
Call Them Before They Call You
Clients reach out regularly in order to see to it that their design needs are getting fulfilled. Customers call or chat to ask questions about a product, it’s ins and outs, or with feedback. All of this is well and good. But being pro-active means you’ll knock it out of the park. Call your clients and customers, from time to time, and with no reason or motive, to check in on them. Send them a holiday card or show up with a Valentines Day gift in hand. This unexpected call or visit will blow them away (and up your chance at return business, should you be upping your game all around – and we trust you are).
Above all, connect with your clients and customers authentically and with kindness, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
What are your rules for excellent customer service?