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How to deliver top customer service

From the Resene Trade blog

Great customer service is the cornerstone of any company. So how can you ensure that's what you're offering your clients? Here's a quick list of some of the main factors that will leave customers satisfied with your service and will encourage them to pass your name onto their friends and family.

Fast response times

Whether it's a call, an email or a message on your company's Facebook page, you should always aim to respond as quickly as possible. Thanks to the immediacy of modern technology, customers expect to hear back almost right away.

If you're usually too busy, consider setting up an automated reply on your email and a message on your phone saying that's the case, and letting them know that you will get back to them within a set time frame, such as within the next working day. This lets the customer know when they can expect to hear from you so you don't have to keep stopping and starting for every message.

You may also be able to refer them to the FAQs (frequently asked questions) section of your website for answers to the most common questions and more details on your service.

Complaint management

No matter how good you deem your customer service, complaints are unfortunately inevitable at one time or another. The difference is all in how you manage it. The first step is always to listen to the complaint and figure out exactly what the issue is. In many cases, you'll be able to come up with a solution that is agreeable to both. While you should aim to avoid sinking time and funds into customers who can't be impressed no matter what you do, most clients will appreciate the extra effort you put into fixing the issue, and may end up your biggest advocates.

Saying thanks

After each project or job, reach out to say thanks. It may be a simple email or a quick card in the mail, or even a note that you leave behind at your client's home or business when you leave. This will help cement you in your customers' minds as professional and polite.

Share your knowledge

Every tradesperson has come across the type of customer who knows exactly what they want and how they want it – but is ultimately a little left of centre.

Perhaps they've chosen a particular paint colour, but also decided that it won't require a undercoat, or they want to use a clear finish outside that you know won't last. There will be many situations in which you simply know better thanks to your experience and knowledge of the industry. Be sure to share your knowledge and set those customers on the right path so they get the best results, as they will ultimately thank you for it.

Underpromise and overdeliver

It's one of the most beloved business tips around, but the fact is that it works.

Where you can allow extra time to finish a project when you advise your customer the likely completion date. This gives you a buffer in case something comes up that slows down the work, but lets you deliver the good news that you're finished early should everything go to plan.


Being transparent with your customers is key to building trust and ensuring that they know what's happening every step of the way.

Whether it's the break-down of costs, trouble getting the right tools, or something else, simply explaining what's happening will help keep the client on board. Then, should something go wrong, they will be more likely to understand and be patient while the issue is resolved. Most customers know that sometimes things don't go according to plan, but if they feel like you are keeping them informed of what is happening and how the problem will be resolved, they will usually be more confident about their project because they feel like you have a handle on things.

The best thing to remember is think about how you like to be treated as a customer and then try to do the same for your customers. Even the best customer services businesses don't get it right 100% of the time, so if things do go wrong, use it as an opportunity to review how you could do things differently next time.

October 2018

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