A satisfied customer keeps on giving

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Q. How do I begin a campaign for value-added customer service at my company?

A. The best marketing tool a company can have is a satisfied customer who receives a little more than he or she expected. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is to spend thousands of dollars on marketing gimmicks but forget to give exceptional service to its clients. A satisfied client in the reception area of a doctor's office is more valuable than the $50 marketing luncheon given to the doctor's staff.
Here are a few tips for beginning a campaign for value-added customer service:
- Have a brainstorming staff meeting. Ask each staff member to come up with an idea the company could use to help customers. Adopt at least one of these new ideas each quarter.
- Provide education to ensure your staff understands courteous behavior and those small things that make a difference.
- Be on time.
- Call your clients 2- to 48 hours after they have been set up with equipment to find out how they are doing.
- Help clients make arrangements for equipment while they're on vacation.
- Send birthday and Christmas cards, as well as condolence cards to families when a customer passes away.
- Train company reps to spend time in casual conversation with customers.
- Train representatives to understand they may be the only visitor that elderly or homebound clients see.
Once an owner and the key staff members in an organization embrace value-added service as a part of their company philosophy, they will quickly see that the value they bring to the customer is given back to them by their most effective marketing tool: a satisfied customer. A satisfied customer will be a strong advocate for the company in places where a company would otherwise spend thousands of dollars to have a positive impact.


Julie Bowman is a consultant and founder/president of HME Solutions in Atlanta. Reach her at (770) 270-681- or jbowman@hmebizsolutions.com.