Seven Customer Service Practices That Will Help You Win Over Clients

Seven Customer Service Practices That Will Help You Win Over Clients

CEO of FirstPage Optimum, a PR firm specializing in digital media and the creator of, “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” series.

I am one of the early adopters of Amazon. I am also among the early adopters of Amazon Prime. Why did I jump the bandwagon so early? Back in the mid-90s when Amazon was first starting, I felt that Amazon gave me the best customer service and best customer experience. Instead of jumping around different websites, I had everything in one portal. In Amazon I found a company that gave me a refund, no questions asked, if I had issue. Over time, the enormous success of Amazon has affirmed my belief that one of the most important ways for a company to distinguish itself and to retain and attract customers is by offering them a great customer service experience.

I write a column where I feature many high-profile CEOs. Through it, I've had the opportunity to observe some of the customer service practices of a diverse array of companies. Below are seven practices that I've found to be rather impressive and how you can adapt them yourself.

1) Keep Your Clients Educated

From my experience working with efficiency coach Yvonne Heimann, I've learned that the key to your client's heart is to keep them educated about why any particular thing is important and of advantage to them. Start by sharing some details about how the “sausage is made.” In my own experience, I’ve found that the more time I spend explaining the details of a process to my clients, the more they trust and respond to me. Work to save your customers as much time researching something as possible. Doing so will also establish you as an expert in your industry and your clients will learn to trust you.

2) Give Free Wearable Gifts To Those Who Help You Sell

My younger brother is the owner of a wholesale women’s belt brand that is sold worldwide. His customer service strategy helps transform his clients into excited ambassadors of his belts and accessories. In every wholesale order he ships out to retail stores, he sends free items to those who help him sell. He wants them to wear his products and promote them in the store. And it works. It also has become an incentive for his customers. They anticipate free items with their orders. If you give away free products, you can make your clients happy and turn them into ambassadors of your product.

3) Get All Your Leads Into A CRM and Continuously Follow Up 

I once interviewed Justin Michie of His company devised a system that captures the contact information all visitors to their website. They then manage all that information with a CRM to reach out and follow up with those visitors. Taking this one step further, my colleague Tom Lavecchia at X Factor Media uses a CRM tool to keep track of his client’s birthdays. Then on his clients' special day, he picks up the phone and wishes them a happy birthday. You can do the same thing before big holidays. The simple act of personally calling customers on their birthday goes a long way in retaining and gaining new clientele.

4) Include A Live Chat Feature

Sometimes simply being available at all times for your customer can be an excellent customer service strategy. For example, I have a colleague who provides chat support on his websites 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He also takes advantage of virtual assistants from around the world in different time zones, so he can provide live chat all the time. I have found that doing this can this increase customer engagement and retention up to 50 percent.   

5) Send A Heartfelt Personal Letter

How often do you write your client a heartfelt personal letter? Yes, I mean the good old-fashioned letter with a pen on paper. My friend Yitzchok Saftlas, host of a popular marketing and business show in New York, told me that most businesses shockingly ignore the critical importance of bonding with their clients. He advises, “The solution is rather simple: write your client a warm thank you letter and send it via snail mail.”

6) Focus On Clients You Genuinely Like

Finally, if you want to win over your customers, you need to really care about them and build genuine relationships. By focusing on clients you genuinely like, you can easily create a solid, genuine rapport turning phone calls and sending gifts into an act of friendship rather than a sleazy sales technique to squeeze out more business. Focus on the clients who you would naturally become friends with. Maybe they have a similar temperament, attitude or shared interests. The relationship and loyalty then come naturally. And, as a friend, so does the best customer service.

These techniques can really help your business. After all, generating ongoing revenue from an existing client is at least five times cheaper than to land a new account.

[Original article: Forbes]

The original article only listed six practices, although the title said seven. So, I add my own point to make it truly seven practices:

7) Do Not Discredit Your Competitor

Play it honest, play it kind. Never discredit or insult an honest competitor in front of your customer (or even behind their backs). Although you might feel that degrading a competitor will increase your chances of getting the sale, it also increases your chances of not getting the business. People like doing business with good people. Backbiting is not a trait of good people. You never know, your customers might know more about your competitor than you do. Insulting your competitor, when your customer just happens to also be a customer of that competitor, is just another of saying "you're stupid" to your customer -- oh, no longer your customer.
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