4960 William Flynn Hwy., Suite 6 PMB #173

Allison Park, PA 15101

724.612.0755

724.444.6176 Fax

autumn@edmistongroup.com

Five Star Customer Service

5-star-customer-serviceDon’t you just love it when a company goes out of their way to make sure that your wants and need are met! It makes you feel as though you are more to the company than just a number or another dollar in the bank. As a business owner, knowing how to make customers feel important and appreciated will help to drive your business and a great reputation for your company. It makes people want to buy from you.

There are many ways that you can show your customers your appreciation, most of them costing a little extra time and effort. Taking that extra time for the small things will go a long way.

I’m already stretched so thin.” you might say, “I don’t have the time to take the extra time.” While it may seem impossible, taking things one small step at a time will make the impossible seem possible.

Here are a few ways that you can show your appreciation.

  • Remember details about your regular customers or clients. Things such as names, preferences, or even to the way they like their food. This will help to make them feel more comfortable in doing business, by you providing that personal connection.
  • The lost art of hand written cards. Whether they are thank you cards, birthday cards or sympathy cards, it is important to send a hand-written note. This type of correspondence will be remembered. In this day in age when computers run most aspects of our lives, hand writing shows the receiver that you have taken the extra time to show genuine concern or gratitude. I once sent a sympathy card to a client and he told me my card was the only one he received from business associates that was hand addressed with a personal note.
  • Don’t be afraid to give out your personal number. As a business owner, your number is already out there. Being able to be reached is important aspect of keeping an open communication line with your clients/customers.
  • Reach for the stars and go above and beyond normal service. Sometimes this means giving customers a little extra. Some examples of this are
    • Office: Have occasional days where you bring in a snack, fruit trays, a sandwich ring, or doughnuts.
    • Landscaper: After all the landscaping is complete incorporate something such as a bird feeder, give away a lawn tool to help maintain the yard, or add a little something extra such as a plant or shrub.
    • A nice gift from your realtor after purchasing a home.

Employees are part of the customer service experience as well. Train them on products and services so they know how to most effectively serve your client base. But also take the time and recognize employees for a job well done. A ‘Thank You’ and ‘I appreciate all you do for our customers’ can go a long way toward employee morale. A thank you and a Starbucks gift card or gas card for a job well will let your employees know how much you appreciate their efforts.

Part of being a successful business owner is demonstrating your appreciation to your clients, customers and employees. Doing this will show them that they are more than a number on the payroll or a dollar in the cash register. Most of the extra effort costs little to no money, just time and thoughtfulness.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

Are You a VIP?

VIP, Edmiston Group, VIP-offersIt’s always a good feeling when you know that you are part of an elite group that has special privileges. Having a VIP membership can help to do that, whether it’s at your local amusement park, the restaurant down the street, or at your favorite country club. VIP membership helps to set you apart from the rest of the crowd. After all – don’t we all want to feel special?

As a business owner you also need to look at the benefits of the VIP memberships. It is a very practical way to help bring in extra revenue while enhancing the services that you offer. Many people are willing to pay extra to enjoy the privileges.

VIP access can vary depending on your industry but there are some examples of things that can be offered in a VIP package:

  • Special gifts
  • Birthday acknowledgement
  • Free shipping
  • Free giftwrapping
  • Exclusive lines or customer services
  • Increased access to you
  • Invites to exclusive events
  • Shopping rewards
  • Exclusive parking
  • Friends are free

These are just a few of many ways that VIP programs can offer more to the customer.

As a consultant, you may have quite a few clients that you work with. Offering a VIP program is something that you can provide that will give the VIP client 24/7 access to you. While this is not a service many consultants wish to offer to every client, it may be something to consider for high end clients that are willing to pay a higher fee for that access and specialized services.

Let your best clients have the option of adding VIP services giving them the ultimate experience without changing the scope of your business. You will have happy clients and a more profitable bottom line to show for it. So put on your thinking cap and create your own VIP program.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

The Trust Factor

Business Relationships, Edmiston GroupLet’s face it ….people do business with those they know, like and trust. As a business owner, your reputation can make or break you. With on-line reviews and feedback, more than ever, we need to keep a pulse on our reputation.

So how do you establish a good business reputation?

  • Make your communication clear and understandable. Know your product and/or service and communicate that consistently across all channels – social, print and web. Know what objections prospective clients may have and be prepared to overcome those objections.
  • Testimonials from customers and/or a third parties go a long way. How often do you see on Facebook – “Can You Recommend a Good….?” People trust what others have to say – even if they don’t know them.
  • Address negative reviews or comments. Acknowledge the mistake (let’s face it we all make them). I tell people when I screw up I make sure it counts! Then take the conversation off line and make the situation right. There are some customers you will never please, but you at least need to try and remedy the problem. If that customer returns and you have the same attitude from them – perhaps it’s time to say you may not be the best fit for their needs. In nine years of business, I’ve had two clients that we weren’t a good match.
  • What does your website say about you? Is it all about making the sale, or does it describe your process in developing relationships with your customers, company values and philosophy on how you run your business? The About Us page is where prospective customers may first go to learn about you and your company.
  • Follow-up when you say you will. Return phone calls and if you tell people you will make an email introduction for them, write it down and do it. Putting others first instead of the short sight of your sale will enable you to be the “go to” person when others are looking for resources and connections. Those people that you connect will remember what you did for them while asking for nothing in return.

Building a solid reputation is like anything else….it takes time and persistence. But at the end of the day, I know that I’ve done my best to do what’s right by my clients, as well as my own business. Wishing you success as you earn trust for growing your own business!

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business growth.

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TESTIMONIALS

“Autumn is always looking at ways to help people. Her tireless efforts are unmistakably effective. She knows how to get people connected and her willingness to go the extra mile to “bridge the gap” for success is remarkable.” January 21, 2010

— Geno Bonetti, President, NSEW Health