I started this series in February because it's so obvious how many of you want to be successful artists, but fail to recognize the importance of critical ingredients to pave the road to success as a business owner. So, with the help of Excire Inc. we expanded the weekly selection with a menu that was more extensive.
Although today's special is out of the SCU diner archives, it's the perfect entree for November. We're into the fourth quarter and it's the busiest time of year for all of you. Albums, reprints, sittings for family portraits, fine art prints, etc. are all part of holiday gift ideas and hopefully the demands on your time are starting to ramp up.
At the same time, as a business owner wearing multiple hats, you're pulled in different directions. Stress is rearing it's ugly head and the pressure for a strong finish to 2018 is nonstop.
I'm having fun with this Fast Food Friday today, just like a chef trying out some new ingredients. I've shared five mistakes so many of you have made in the past in the hopes you don't repeat them. There's even an audio bonus. Think of it the same way you'd get a singing waiter!
Happy Fast Food Friday and as always, wishing everybody a terrific weekend.
- "Please go to our website!" - Your website should be about your services and what you sell, but instead many of you are managing by the exception and have filled your site with policies. I've been on a few that were written with all the finesse of an IRS audit, with material about cancellation and refund policies. Save those topics for the contract discussion and utilize your site to show your best qualities as an artist. Stop scaring customers away!
- "I'll have to transfer you." - Take responsibility for the answers your customers are looking for. Even more important, if you have staff, whether part-time or full-time, train and give them the ability to make decisions. There's nothing wrong with saying to a customer, "I'm sorry I don't know the answer, but let me call you back in a few minutes." Customers know it's not a perfect world and they can accept mistakes. What they can't accept is feeling like they're not important.
- "That's not our policy." - Rules for any business are important, but there are times when circumstances warrant a modification. If you're looking for everything to be black or white, you're doomed. You've got to be able to define the gray areas and find solutions, not fall back on a statement blaming "policy." If that's your only way to do business, then you're going to be far more successful working for Comcast!
- "Sorry, there's nothing I can do." - Whoa, that's the end of the road, because right after you make this comment, the customer decides to not only NEVER work with you again, but to tell their friends about you. There's no more significant statement that defines you as a jackass. The truth is, there's ALWAYS something you can do. Just make sure whatever you're doing to resolve the situation is always the BEST you can do.
- "Hmm, I don't know." - It's not the fact that you don't have an answer, but the interpretation of the statement itself. It's like a surgeon saying "Oops!" on the operating table. You're expected to be the expert, and if you're going admit to not knowing the answer, then you need to temper that statement. Add a few more comments about getting a better answer, looking into it further and giving the customer a sense of commitment, rather than just shrugging your shoulders and walking away.
Here's the thing about excellent Customer Service - it's about your attitude. It's not a department that's part of a large corporation. It's meant to be the foundation of everything you believe in business and about your customers. Excellent Customer Service is about making yourself habit-forming and exceeding customer expectations. Every client needs to feel like they're your most important customer.
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