Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Blooming Business This Spring . . .

Here are 14 basic points on customer service that will help you keep clients smiling and business blooming during this spring season.

When you've just started your business with a small number of employees or customers, it's easy to stay on top of what customers want and what they're getting. But as you add more customers and employees along with your business growth, the likely hood for poor service pops up.  That's why creating a customer service policy and sticking to it is so vital. Here are just a few steps you can take to ensure that your clients receive excellent service every step of the way.

1. Put your customer service policy in writing. These principles should come from you the owner, but every employee should know what the rules are and be ready to live up to them. This doesn't have to be complex. Something as simple as "the customer is always right" can lay the essential groundwork, although you may want to get more detailed by saying, "any employee is empowered to grant a stated discount or a free gift to any unhappy customer at any moment."

2. Be certain that your passion for customer service runs widespread throughout your business. Employees should see how good service customer directly relates to your profits and to their futures with the company.  How customer service is directly related to business success.

3. Award outstanding customer service. Award your staff for good work as a way to keep them motivated and excited.  Don't forget to reward employees who practice it again and again.  Hold a contest or feature an employee or happy customer.

4.  Take action in knowing what customers want.  Give your customers the following; attention, friendliness, dependability, swiftness and experience. They love being treated as individuals and being referred to by their first name.

5. Be fully committed to providing more customer service than anyone else in your field. This commitment must be so powerful that every one of your customers can feel it or see it.

6. Share information with your staff. Meet with your employees regularly to talk about improving customer service. Ask for ideas from your employees; they are the ones who are dealing with customers most often.

7. Make Your Customers Happy!  There are certain "magical words" customers want to hear from you and your staff. Make sure all your employees understand the importance of these key phrases.  Use open ended questions like; is this your first visit to our store or studio? Ask question that invite a discussion.  Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations, repeat sales and more business. 

ü  "I can solve that problem." Most customers, especially business to business customers, are looking to buy solutions.
ü  "I don't know, but I'll find out." When confronted with a truly difficult question that requires research on your part, admit that you don't know the answer.  An honest answer builds integrity.
ü  "I will take responsibility." Tell your customer you realize it's your responsibility to ensure their satisfaction.  Take responsibility that the job is done right at the agreed price.
ü  "I will keep you updated." Even if your business is a cash and carry operation, it probably requires scheduling and organizing many events. Assure your customers they will be informed about these events.
ü  "I will deliver on time." A due date that has been agreed upon is a promise that must be kept. "Close" just doesn't count.  Just like Mom always said when you make a promise keep it and deliver on that promise.
ü  “It'll be just what you ordered." It will not be "similar to," and it will be what was ordered.
ü  "The job will be complete." Confirm to the customer there will be no waiting for a final piece or a last document.
ü  "I appreciate your business." This means more than a simple "Thanks for the order." Genuine appreciation involves follow up calls or an email, making sure everything was performed to your customer’s satisfaction.

8. Listen to your customer.  By listening to your customer you will know actually what their needs are and how you can help them.

9.  Never Let Your Customers Forget You!  One important means for generating repeat business is following up. Follow up begins immediately after the sale when you call or email the customer to say "thank you" and find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service. Beyond this, there are several effective ways to follow up that ensure your business is always in the customer's mind. Try blogging, social forums, emails just to name a few…now days it is endless.

9. Let customers know what you are doing for them. Mail a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter to your customers. The key is to dramatically point out to customers the excellent service you are giving them. Make sure that your customer notices what you are doing for them.  Drop an email to let them know they don't have to worry because you handled the paperwork, completed the project; let them know that is one less thing they have to do.

10. Remember special occasions. Send regular customers birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday name it. Gifts are excellent as well; you don't have to spend a lot to show you care; use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business theme.

11. Pay it forward and help out.  If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about a group a customer may be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know.  Hold monthly contests or drawings and give out prizes.

12. Keep in touch with your customers with phone calls, emails or by mail. When you talk to or visit customers, you'll often find they have referrals to give you, which can lead to new business. With all your existing customers can do for you, there's simply no reason not to stay in touch with them. Use your imagination, and you'll think of plenty of other ideas that can help you build lasting relationships.

13.  Dealing with Unsatisfied Customers. Studies show that most unsatisfied customers will never come right out and tell you they're unsatisfied. They simply leave quietly, later telling everyone they know not to do business with you. So when a customer complains, don't think of it as a bother; think of it as an opportunity to change that customer's mind and retain their business. Even the best product or service receives complaints now and then.

Here's how to handle them with positive results:
ü  Let customers vent their feelings and listen.
ü  Never tell a customer "You do not have a problem."
ü  Take responsibility for the problem. Don't make excuses. If an employee was sick or a supplier is late, that's not the customer's concern.
ü  Never argue with a customer.
ü  Immediately take action to correct the situation.
ü  Empower employees to be flexible in resolving complaints.

14. Write your customers a personal handwritten note or card. Start a note with the following:  I was just sitting at my desk and your name popped into my head. Are you still having a great time boating on the weekends? Let me know if you need more handmade soap? Or if you run into an old customer at an event, follow up with a note: It was great seeing you at the party.

For more free marketing tips and ideas link to this web address:

This information is meant to be for informational purposes only and is just the opinions and random thoughts of Paula Parrish and is not to be used as legal advice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Revealing a new look . . .

Strawberry Fields Scrapbook Shop in Cape Coral, Florida now has a fresh new logo design.

Where Memories Are Preserved

The design of this logo was a very fun process from the start considering that both Pam (the owner) and I share a love for scrapbooking, antiques, collectibles and unique one-of-a-kind items.  Her store is filled very the latest and greatest in scrapbook supplies all displayed in harmony with a vintage and eclectic décor.

Check out her store at:  303 NE 3rd Ave. Unit 7 Cape Coral, Florida 33909.

Or visit her blog at:


Why you need a Logo?

Your company logo is the foundation of your image. It's the first thing people look at, and your first opportunity to make a positive impression on prospect customers. A quality logo can instantly communicate the style, overall presence, professionalism and even philosophy of your business!