Operations

Customer Care That Increases Loyalty

Posted on October 21, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Today, good service is just not enough. Customers remember good service until the next time they get good service. The overall experience the client has with your company is what will differentiate you in the marketplace. Three outstanding operators shared their tips for creating customer loyalty through care.

Deena Papagni, owner of A Touch of Class Transportation, Inc. in Fresno, Calif., believes she is able to differentiate herself and her customer service because of technology. She employees voice loggers in her operation and GPS tracking of vehicles. She believes that it is easy to settle any problems with these devices available to give the exact information of what occurred. Papagni also believes that hiring practices make the difference in her operation. “I hire people that I would feel safe placing my family with,” she said. “I do extensive background checks before hiring and then we do extensive training when we do hire. Consistency is the key. If you go into a McDonald’s or Starbucks, you understand what I mean about consistency. All chauffeurs must be delivering the exact same service every time.”

Christopher Quinn, owner of Corporate Transportation Solutions in Sacramento, CA, said, “We are in the relationship business. He believes that you need to empower your staff to support your brand and give them the ownership to solve issues. “In our company, we have no drivers,” Quinn said. “We have professional chauffeurs.”

For Matt Silver, owner of Ultimate Class Limousine in Hicksville, NY, it is critical to stay in constant contact with his clients. “I am now calling my clients regularly,” Silver said. “Everyday I call at least five clients just to touch base with them. I also am answering the phones. It surprises clients when they hear my voice but they also like the fact that I am involved in my business.”

The three concurred that the industry overall needs to tighten up its phone manners. Quinn recommended that all companies should have an on-hold message. Silver said that if your companies are using automated services, they should rack up the statistics on them such as how long clients are kept on hold, how many calls are lost, and how many rings it takes to answer a phone.

Client incidents are a great way to reinforce loyalty, “How you handle situations, shows the client how much you care about them,” Papagani said. “You must have a sense of urgency when acknowledging an incident. Gather the facts, speak the truth, and tell them how you are going to prevent it from happening in the future. Always try to be proactive with the client. If you anticipate that a chauffeur may be a few minutes late, pick up the phone and tell the client. Take ownership of mistakes regardless of who caused them.”

Striving for your clients to be raving fans is the goal that Quinn is working toward. He surveys his clients regularly. “Clients share valuable information with you that can assist you in making future business decisions,” Quinn said. “Ask your clients for help. Ask them for referrals. This isn’t a sales pitch its getting your client to invest in you."

Quinn also stressed the importance of being involved in social networking sites. “Linked In is a great way to reach customers. You need to use technology to find, keep and learn about your customers,” Quinn said. He cautions, “Whatever you are doing on social networking sites must have relevance. Be careful that you are not over promoting on them because then you just become noise and your clients tune you out.”

Source: Linda Jagiela, LCT Magazine

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