Running your own business can be an eye-opening experience.
Once you do, you start paying attention to how other businesses are run and how they operate. For better or for worse.
Maybe it’s that, and maybe it’s just my age creeping up on me, but I now appreciate follow-through so much more when I do business with other companies. Being a generally easygoing guy, I used to just accept it and deal with bad service, bad communication, bad attitudes. Now, after being responsible for serving others by running my own business, it is of the utmost importance.
The basic tenets of service (in my layman’s mind)
Be clear about what you are offering, be responsive when customers ask questions, leave voicemails and emails. Respond in a TIMELY manner.
Do not treat the customer like they are too ‘simple’ to understand the mind-bending skills you possess and the work you can do. You are there to serve them. You are lucky they came to you, not the other way around.
Service to a customer occurs before, during and after the time that you are actively working on their particular request. Once they are out the door and you have their money, that is not your green flag to end the relationship. This is your time for follow-up and follow through, which can only lead to longer relationships and more business in the future.
As a business owner I am nowhere near perfect at these tenets, but I am actively focusing on them in my day to day. It always surprises me when businesses fall short in all of these and are continually struggling to get repeat customers. And they just don’t know why. Blame the customers, blame the competitors, but they don’t look in the mirror.
You have to look in the mirror, even if you don’t always like what you see.