Kick butt tips, tricks and tutorials.

Your Painting Service

Imagine this: you just finished a terrific interior repaint. It looks great, the customer is happy and she has nothing but good things to say. All that remains is for you to collect the cheque. But before you head over for your final inspection meeting and goodbye, you prepare an album of the job, complete with the paint chips for all the colors you used mounted neatly beside a photo of the room where the colors were used. There are before and after pictures, pictures of the progress of the job and, on the last page, the signatures and good wishes of all the guys that worked on the house. As your customer hands you the final cheque, you hand her the album. What do you think she will have to say about your company now? How much more likely is it that she will say good things about you to dozens of her friends, not just one or two?

The days when companies simply needed to meet customers’ needs to succeed in business are over. Customers are more and more demanding, and the merely satisfied customer is not neces­sarily going to be a loyal customer.

Satisfy your customers

Too often people rush into doing all the extras before they do the basics. Make sure that you keep your prom­ises and provide good basic service. Ask them: have I provided the kind of service that was expected? Do a survey. Make sure it is easy for your customers to answer. Four or five questions will suffice. Leave room for comments.

Find out what your competitors do

Learn everything you can about your competition. Find out what they do for their customers. It is perfectly accept­able to use them as a benchmark.

Find out what your customers want

You and your employees are in the best position to learn about what your customers want. Every time you get a chance, engage your customer in a dis­cussion about what they want and need. If you discover something that you can do right away, do it.

Surprise and delight them

If you decide that your mission is to surprise and delight each and every customer, you will have a much higher success rate. Write out your mission statement and review it daily to remind yourself how important exceptional cus­tomer service is to you. But when you hear the words “sur­prise and delight,” is the first thing you think, “Okay, what’s it going to cost me?” Do you assume that the only way to “surprise and delight” is to spend, spend, spend? Some of the most effec­tive ways to “surprise and delight” your customers will cost you little or nothing. Here are some low-cost ways to “sur­prise and delight” your customers:

  • Thank your customer for their business by handwriting a note on your invoice or sending a personal thank you. With the advent of e-mails, a handwritten personal note has an amazing impact.
  • Follow up with a phone call to see if your customer is still happy. When you call them, ask about their family or something else personal.
  • E-mail your customer information about something you and he or she spoke about.
  • Be warm, welcoming and excited to provide service. Your exuberance will be contagious.
  • Have a great customer service recov­ery process. And make sure that you don’t quit solving your customer’s problem until they are fully satisfied.

Make it personal

In order to really provide exceptional customer service you need to make it unique to the customer. This means that you need to listen carefully to the clues your customers give you. You then need to find creative ways to give them something they may riot have expected. Always listen to your customer’s tone of voice and watch their body language to make sure you are properly gauging their reaction.