Last November after a frustrating day dealing with bureaucracy and getting shuffled from window to window only to find out I did not have the right paperwork. It came into stark relief how important customer service and clear communication are in business.

Your customers want to work with you. This means they’re looking for you, but also at what you do. Your reputation and ultimately your brand relies on them understanding what is expected of them and how you work.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard from owners or read reviews online where some upset customer blasted the business only for the full story to come out that the real villain was poor communication.  Just because you might know what to do or understand how something in your industry works does not mean your customers will.

You need to make sure that you are being clear in what you say. Yes, it gets boring to explain for the umpteenth time some tiny piece of your business, but remember they don’t know any of this. It’s their first experience with you, your company, and whatever it is you are helping them with. This goes for your team too. Make sure they understand what’s expected of them as the employees serving the customers. Your team represents your brand just as much as what you post online or say on the phone. A bored employee who rolls their eyes and talks down to the customer is going to reflect poorly on your business.

It should not come as a surprise when I say that people make a judgment on you and your business incredibly quickly. It’s been known that a person makes a first impression of someone or something in a matter of seconds (as in less than 10 seconds). That impression is going to be the one that they tell all their friends about and ultimately is what helps you build a positive brand image or not.

When you onboard a customer and honestly before they even agree, you should be extremely clear in what’s expected of them and what you will and will not do. I had a manager at a past job tell the staff that the most important thing we could do is underpromise and over-deliver. We were encouraged to put ourselves in our customer’s place. Then do a trial run through our service to see how it feels as the customer. All the hiccups, and points of irritation that we didn’t like, rest assured our customers would not either and those were the issues we had to either change the system or have an explanation ready.

I assure you. When you’re providing a good experience to your customers, it benefits you in the long run. It instills trust in your business and builds your reputation as an authority who is worth paying the big bucks.

Okay, that’s all I got today!