A Tough Lesson - Customer Service Tips
Valuable Customer Service Tips for the home based business. Make good customer service become excellent customer service by finding out what the customer needs.
It started out like a great dream. We just started our toner and ink-jet business and our first business customer was a medical firm of about 20 offices. I had known the purchasing agent for sometime and before long we got the contract to supply these offices with printer products.
We were so excited to get the order that we did not question when the purchasing agent placed a huge order for hundreds of toner and ink-jet supplies. She had mentioned that they were going to make the main office the headquarters for all the printer supplies.
The business we had set up was a drop ship company which meant we would be getting all the products from various manufacturers. We were on a cash basis with the suppliers, meaning that all funds were paid up front.
We ordered all the supplies believing that the purchasing agent knew what she was doing. Well, it became a logistical nightmare when they could not fit all the products into the storage area they had created.
Of course the medical firm was way too overstocked and we had to send back more then half of the orders. Now that makes it difficult when you are working with numerous manufacturers and their return policies. Our company motto is excellent customer service so we immediately sent a representative down to correct the errors.
Even though it was the purchasing agent who created the mess, when I look back at the situation it was my home based business that was more at fault. We had only offered good customer service not excellent customer service.
These customer service tips will save you from getting into the situation that my company did and save your time and money.
Customer Service Tips
Pre Qualify Your Customer
At your first meeting with the decision maker of the company you will be doing business with have a check list of questions. Your primary objective is to help the customer with their needs. First find out how long they have been doing the ordering. Ask if they are new at this or if this is a new company idea. In our scenario above, the company did not put a real strong plan together in regards to using one location as a distribution center.
Armed with these questions and the customer service tips, you can get a better idea of where your home based business products or services can fit in. Offering suggestions if they need them. Excellent customer service begins with getting the facts.
Help the Customer with Volume Amounts
If you have done your pre-qualifying you will know much more about what the decision maker really needs. Sometimes you will find out that the decision maker is not really clear on their objectives and you need to be able to help clarify them.
Did they get an accurate volume of products needed? Most times you will need to test the waters. Always go slow you can speed it up anytime.
Verify Storage Life of Product
If you are selling a product that has a storage life, be sure that the customer’s volume amounts are safely matched but not excessively over matched. You do not want too much product on their shelves. This is money tied up by your customer and also could expire. Someone will eat the product costs of this common mistake.
An extra customer service tip to add to this is that by keeping your customer too well stocked you may lose them. If they do not get a call from your home based business very often they are more apt to run into other product suppliers and you will not be “in front of your customers”. You will want to continue to be able to work with your customers helping them identify needs that they may not even know they have and telling them about new products and services.
Test the Product and the Business Relationship
When you start with a new customer, go slow and see how the product fits into their needs. Good customer service begins with this but excellent customer service goes beyond this point. See how your home based business products and services are meeting the customer needs. Are your products a good match and are you offering the correct service? What can you do to make the business relationship even better? How can they profit from your products? Keep in mind the extra customer service tip I mentioned above about keeping "in front of the customer".
If the products or business relationship are not a good fit, end the relationship. It will cost your business money and time as well bad public relations. Remember an unsatisfied customer will tell more people about a bad situation then a good one. It is hard to end a relationship. Sometimes it is better to never have begun one with the customer in the first place. For the sake of excellent customer service I have refused customers because I knew that our products would not fit their needs.
I hope that your home based business will use these customer service tips. Creating a successful relationship with your customers is essential for your business success. Sales will soar and happy customers mean great word of mouth advertising.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Kopp is the Founder and CEO of Kopp Enterprises, Inc. Paul has been a Home Based Business owner for over 7 years. Currently he operates 2 online businesses and also is involved in numerous non internet related businesses. Paul createdHome-Based-Business-Solutions.com to give quality information and resources to start and run a home based business smoothly and profitably. He covers all the topics from A-Z for home based businesses. This article and others can be found at his Business Resource Center.