Back to customer service again, I hear you say to yourself. However , we never send you far wrong, so this week’s foray into keeping good and reliable customer records has got to be worth five minutes of your time.
Customers – the one thing you can bet they have in common is that they expect their needs to be met, if not their expectations to be exceeded, they have little or no idea of the lengths you have to go to, to service them and their business, and they think you do nothing else other than sit around, wait for them to call, and of course you keep details of their business needs, family setup and inside leg measurement at the tip of your fingers (so to speak!)
This means you need to look at more than one type of recording of your customer records – the ongoing stuff – such as when you went to see them, what you did, what it cost, how long it took (as I imagine you need to put that into some sort of time sheet anyway), their protocols, password, security issues and architectures and also the other stuff what their business motto is, what they have on the cards for development in the coming year/years, what their work ethic is, how many staff they have, who their key partners are. You can use all of this information to ensure that you are aligning your business to their needs. It’s going to come through in your dealings with them. Even something like “well, when you expand into another state next year, don’t forget we can also sit with you and look at your IT support needs/rewrite your SLA”, or something similar can and will reap rewards.
Personal recollection of data is useful and welcomed as well – who they are, what their families are made of, what they do in their spare time, and what their hobbies and interests are. It can help you to focus on how best to help them, and can also make you the person that makes them feel like their business is being dealt with by a professional, caring, sharing sort of a person. Be careful not to be stalkerish though. I once went to a conference and had looked up a trainer on the net, read articles about her (as a colleague who I may be able to write training books for) along with the other ten delegates that were going to be there, and basically recognised her, when I had not met her before, as she entered the conference – making the mistake of saying ‘Hi! – I’d recognise you anywhere – you haven’t changed since your photo in the army training article back in 02!’. Got me a funny look, I can tell you.
So – to help you, collect pertinent info about the business and your key contact.
Keep it on a card and use it when you contact them or before a meeting
Check your last actions before you make a call to a regular customer to a make sure you did what you said you were going to.
Last but not least, learn when to speak and when to keep quiet!