What We’ve Learned About Customer Service

17th August 2015

What we Learned About Customer Services

Working with bespoke, customised products requires a lot of customer contact. The promotional product market is not an industry that can be automated fully as services are tailored to each customer. We provide a significant amount of input to each project from the initial brief, to the design and artwork to the finished product.

In our line of work good customer service is crucial and it is something we pride ourselves on. Lancaster Printing’s director, Carrie Parkinson, spent the early part of her career in the United States where nurturing good customer relationships has become part of the culture. Working in this environment provided some great insights which have been absorbed into Lancaster Printing.

Over the years we have learned a lot and we try to apply the following to our business every day.

1. Make a Good First Impression

We all know that first impressions last. Make sure yours is a positive one. Think carefully about all the touch points of your business. This includes your website, social media channels, promotions, telephone calls etc. Ensure you have a clear message and that this is communicated consistently.

2. Know Your Customers

Get to know your customers from the first contact. Keep clear, up-to-date records so that you can tailor your services and content accordingly.

3. Communicate Clearly and Consistently

Ensure clear communication through all channels, written and verbal. Make sure everyone is familiar with your business’ message and communication style to ensure consistency.

4. Deal with Complaints Swiftly

Deal with any complaints or negative feedback fairly and swiftly. Acknowledge the problem and provide a solution. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. What matters is how you resolve them. How you deal with a problem creates a lasting impression.

5. Do What You Say You Will Do

If you make a promise, keep it. This includes everything from providing the right product or service to the right specifications and ensuring it is delivered on time. If you’re not sure you can meet a deadline then don’t promise it in the first place.

We understand that our customers rely on our services and place their trust in us. For example, if you are exhibiting at a trade show and place an order for several thousand promotional products, it is imperative they are delivered on time. A day later will be of no use. We always provide realistic targets and deadlines. If we can’t deliver, we don’t promise.

6. Exceed Expectations

We always strive to keep our promises and wherever possible we exceed expectations. This might be providing a new product or service or delivering a day earlier than promised. If we can make life a little easier for our customers we do it.

7. Say Thank You

Over the years we have built up a loyal customer base. These customers return to us year after year with repeat orders and they recommend our services. Why? Because we treat them fairly and with respect and we provide an exceptional service. We also remember to thank them. It’s such a simple thing but it means a lot and it is something that is remembered.

We also advocate rewarding loyalty. Don’t save your special offers and incentives for new customers. Make sure you reward your long standing customers also.

8. Follow Up

After the sale make sure you follow up. Customers will appreciate you checking to see if everything went smoothly and if there is anything else you can help with. Any issues can be ironed out quickly and feedback will help you grow and improve your services.

9. Keep in Touch

Don’t just sell your product or service and then disappear. Keep in touch and nurture the relationship. Remind customers you’re there with regular updates by e-newsletters and social media and follow up with a telephone call every few months. Don’t overdo it though. That can be annoying.

10. Invest in Your Staff

Your customer service is only as good as the people delivering it. Ensure your staff are well-trained and they have a thorough understanding of your processes. Ensure that everyone is delivering the same message in the same way.

Always remember that good customer service leads to loyal customers. Loyal customers lead to more business. It’s that simple.

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