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Insight: Customer service 101: The best way to handle customers


By Emeka Chimodo

Be good to your customers

Yes, there are customers who walk right out of hell and straight into your business. But we also have a lot of business owners, especially the smaller ones who are hell themselves. And when a regular customer walks into them, he comes out burnt.

The primary motive of every business should be customer loyalty. And to get that, you must meet and surpass their expectations so that those “Happy Customers” would go out to become your evangelists preaching your gospel.

Meeting and even surpassing client expectations will, in the long run, enable your business to develop reliable long term relationships that will always translate to good business and money.

To get this mojo into your business, here are a couple of hacks.

Cover work scope early

I love how some online companies do this. They give you a delivery date that is far into the future and they deliver the product before that date.

That is awesome. I feel glad each time a business serves me this way.

It is worse than the experience you have with some artisans like tailors who will never deliver on time. Maybe because they always underestimate the work involved or just feel great disappointing customers.

Whichever is the case, don’t let that be your case. I can’t remember how many businesses I have fired because they promised me and failed and I’m not alone. Every buyer is always ready to go spend his money elsewhere if his expectations are not met.

Factor in complexities and delays

No two projects are alike… Some are more complex than others.

Take this into consideration when dealing with your clients. Explain to them why the job might not come out as soon as they are anticipating.

In the case of the unexpected, notify clients early. For example, the recent outbreak of coronavirus has stalled many projects which means they will take longer than anticipated. In such an instance, reach out to your customers and appeal to them. Don’t assume that they will understand without you explaining to them.

Every good customer would listen to you so long as you are not making excuses

Always Take responsibility

Things go wrong and when they do, we love those leaders who take advantage of the moment to own their faults and accept responsibility for what has happened and for improving things in the future.

This is the kind of business owner that you should be.

Don’t try to ‘claim right’ or to play and make the customer feel bad for coming to you in the first place. Nobody likes to spend his money where he is made to feel bad.

By taking responsibility even when you shouldn’t or when it is not your fault, you sow leadership and character which you go ahead to reap in the form of loyalty and continued patronage.

Customer feedback

How could you possibly exceed customer expectations without knowing what these expectations are in the first place? 

That is why feedback is important. According to Steve Jobs, “you don’t develop a good piece of technology then look for who to sell it to, you find what the people want then build technology around it”.

So as a smart business owner, you should have a system in your business that gives your buyers the opportunity to give you some honest feedback.  And the faster and more anonymous it is, the better.

People love it easy, simple and secretive.

Use client isolation system

It is foolish to assume that all clients are the same. With this realization, you then need to Isolate your customers and profile them so that you can know the appropriate way to handle and even bill them.

While some might like it exclusive and private and won’t mind paying a premium for that, others want you to tell the world that they buy your sweet potato.

Accept and Treat all as they desire so that you could render a good service to each.

And at the same time, it’s also important in your profiling to know the extent of difficulty in working with a client. If this is done well, you will even find some clients that you won’t accept their business because their problem is such that you wouldn’t want to handle.

Customer experience

Let others beat you in everything else, but not in customer service. And this is simple…just find your own best way of making everyone that walks into your business to feel special and well cared for and you will become the people’s brand.

Really, what is important to you as a business person isn’t what you are building or what you and your team think about your business, it all about how the market, especially those who exchange money with you perceive and see you.

Find that little extra way to serve each person that interacts with your business and make it better, faster and sweeter with each day. We all love surprises and a positively surprised buyer usually becomes a regular payer.

Train employees and treat them right

I hate the “Be your boss” mantra as is touted today. The reason is that people who go on their own strictly with the mindset to “be their own boss” more often than not hate their employees and treat them badly.

They feel they are losers and express it with statements like “salary is the bribe they give you to forget your dream.”

For me, I see anyone that works with me in any way as my boss. Yes, I learn how to please him and treat him well so that he can treat the things that are important to me (my business and clients) well.

Doing otherwise is just like treating your house to help badly and expecting her to treat your kids well.

Close Up view of Male Hand Touching Orange Customer Service Computer Key. 3D Render.

This hardly happens.                                                                  

So invest in the growth and wellbeing of your employees and make them the best that they can be and even if they leave, you are better off than when you don’t treat them right or train them and they remain in your business!

Add a human face to what you do

People do business with people.

A lot of business owners’ especially the tech ones run away from this. They hide behind the computer and expect the world to come bowing to them. This never happened to even the Steve Jobs and Bills of this world.

Build relationships, then a business. 

The easier way to explain this is: find a bunch of strangers, make them fall in love with you and your product then make them family.

This is important because the know, like, trust and remember factors are key business relationship components and any business that has those 4 on the lock will always get ahead of the crowd.

Easy way to achieve this, celebrate with your customers. Send then thank you notes, remember their birthdays, celebrate with those that celebrate and mourn with those that mourn.

All these score good points for you in the heart of the buyer.

Find your market fit and make them feel it

Know who you serve and make him see no one else but you.

If you create a product for stay at home mums in Nigeria, every stay at home mum should hear from you. Even if they don’t buy from you, they should just know that you exist and should be compelled to give you a try one of these days.

Final point…

Build a people business that helps those people to meet their needs and surpass their expectations in the process.

This is how great businesses are built.

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