The Key to Client Loyalty is Trust

by Dawn Fotopulos on July 17, 2013

Balance Sheets Always Balance! Customer Service is a Balancing Act

There’s no easier way to lose a customer than to lose their trust.  How does one do that? Make a promise, then break it. Case in point.

Have you ever been to a store, a doctor’s office or a restaurant and the gatekeeper says, “It will be twenty minutes” and forty five minutes later, they still haven’t delivered your request?

That happened to me recently when I was getting a prescription filled for a friend.

The counter clerk who was nice enough, said it would be twenty minutes. I looked at my watch and said, “it is now 7:45 PM, based on what you just said, that means I can come back here at 8:05 PM and the prescription will be filled, is that right?” She said, “yes”.

You know what happened. I showed up at 8:10 PM and not only wasn’t the prescription filled, but I could see two people scrambling in the  back who forgot the order completely. It took an additional half an hour.

Why such a big deal? Because my friend just had surgery and she was in pain. When you’re in physical pain, a half an hour is an eternity.

I will not be going back to that pharmacy anytime soon. I can think of much more productive ways to waste time, can’t you?

So here are three tips to avoid this dynamic.

Tip #1: Under promise and over deliver.

You’ve heard this before, but do you really operate like this? If you’re not sure how long something’s going to take, give yourself more, not less time to get the job done. Designers working on multi-part projects have to be very good at this or risk losing their professional credibility.

Tip #2: Contact the customer before the deadline passes.

If you know you’re going to miss a deadline, don’t wait for the  client to find out the hard way. Call them BEFORE the deadline passes. You break trust with the client.

They may not be happy, but they’ll appreciate that you’re on top of things and that you recognize the real deadline. Then fall on your sword to meet that new deadline. Two tries and you’re out.

You might have to deal with some flack, but at least your integrity is still in tact. This is a much better alternative than letting the deadline slip away and having to call the client after the fact.

Please don’t do this. Deal with the frustrated client upfront. Your reputation is your most important asset. Don’t compromise it.

Tip #3: Larry Janesky of Basement Water Proofing Systems built a $300 million dollar business with this advice:

Do what you say you’re going to do, stay in budget and finish the full scope of the project. Leave the client “clean”.

You’ll be ahead of 90% of your competitors if you and your staff and subcontractors do this consistently.

Larry started his business from zero so he has our profound respect.

When you make a commitment, no matter how small, keep it. When you promise something, deliver it. When you have an item on your menu, make sure it’s available. What’s your story? We’d love to hear it. Questions? Ask us.

We’ll answer on the blog. If you tell ten people about us, we’ll be able to help millions of small business owners from going bankrupt. That’s our mission. Thanks for being on it with us.

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