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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
How Accessible are You?
Customer service is a key element in the success of your business. That’s not news to anyone. But a crucial element of customer service, that business owners often overlook, is being readily accessible to your clientele. That can be a challenge, but technology lends a hand in making it possible.
First of all, be sure that you provide your e-mail address to your clients. If at all possible, provide them with a personal e-mail address, such as Bob@mybusiness.com rather than the generic support@ or info@. This gives the client a feeling that you are personally catering to their questions and needs, rather than just any Joe-Shmoe getting their e-mail. Of course, if you’re a one person shop, then make them aware that you check all of the e-mail accounts yourself.
Be sure to check those e-mail accounts at least once a day. If you can do so more often, that is recommended, but if time doesn’t allow for you to check the business e-mail two or three times a day, be sure you do so at least once. Some clients may be trying to contact you with a pressing question, so you want to be sure you get to them as soon as possible.
Additionally, be sure that you have an e-mail signature on all of your outgoing e-mail messages. Most e-mail programs provide in the options menu for you to add the content of an e-mail signature that will automatically tag on the end of all outgoing e-mails. Be sure that this signature includes your name, your e-mail address, the company’s name, the company’s mailing address, telephone and fax and any other pertinent information a client can use to get a hold of you.
Another way to stay connected and accessible to your clients through e-mail is to send out an e-newsletter. Be sure that it is sent out consistently, at the same time each month. Sending a weekly newsletter can clutter your client’s inbox, so don’t overdo it. Use the newsletter to keep clients informed of upcoming events and sales, and to answer frequently asked questions. For more tips see last week’s post Getting the Most Out of E-mail Marketing.
Though many businesses are small and may not have a lot of people, it is still important that you have a voicemail system installed and a voicemail box for each employee. Though hand written messages are okay, when you have a voicemail you can change the outgoing message each day (and you should) to reflect your availability and when you will be able to return calls. Nearly every telephone service company provides some sort of voicemail system. And, again, if you’re just a one person shop, have an answering machine at the very least.
One of the most important ways to be accessible to your clients is to provide them with your cell phone number. This gives provides the impression that you can be reached at any time. If you fear that, by giving out your cell number, your phone will be ringing constantly, then limit the hand out of the number to those clients who are your most loyal and most crucial to your business. And, of course, update the outgoing message each day, just like with regular voicemail.
Though being accessible to your clients can be a handful and a bit overwhelming at times (especially when you have that client that worries about every little detail or can never be pleased), but, for the most part, being available to your clients gives your business the advantage of trust and reliability. And that’s what keeps the clients coming back!
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Saving Time on the Telephone
Direct Mail Marketing Tips (1 of 2)
The 411 on Schmoozing
Marketing Your Website
Enhance Your Image Through Your Words