We’ve all been there, where we need something yesterday and we need the business to make it happen for us. It can be challenging, to manage deadlines. Need often doesn’t dictate good timing so it’s important to be prepared and able to deliver on less than optimal timelines without sacrificing customer service.
For the client the idea of being caught without the product they need, can become cause for angst and stress. For you, it’s a terrific opportunity to deliver on your business brand and really showcase your client service standard.
There are a lot of moving parts to effectively delivering on a deadline. How you deliver customer service can open opportunity to shorten delivery times and enhance your customer’s experience.
1. Know your products.
This goes further than knowing that you have 6 types of portfolios available and what size and colour they are. It’s about knowing the materials they’re made of, how the print process works for each one depending on complexity of artwork and why or what will challenge an expedient turnaround. It’s the technical information that may confuse the client but unless you get it right, the end result – both quality and delivery time can be jeopardised. This is something that a good provider has as an intrinsic part of the service delivery. Sending products to the printer with an “I just place the order and don’t worry about anything further” is a recipe a poor customer service experience. If you’re looking for reasons for price difference between suppliers – it’s often in this space and generally where you get what you pay for.
2. Know the details of the order
Have you asked enough questions? Do you know where these are going to be delivered? Is it different to their actual address? We had a late order for a conference last year which turned out to be relatively close to our offices. Rather than leaving delivery to an external provider, we decided to provide delivery personally. This reduced the stress on our client significantly, but also gave as a whole extra day to process the order. Going the extra mile, literally, for our client provided peace of mind for both sides of the transaction.
3. Help your client find the right answer
The customer is always right, but sometimes you can help provide information that will help them make a better choice or a choice that will create a more manageable deadline. What if we change something about the order? Is there a new or alternate product that would deliver the same result without additional delay? Providing this information to your client gives them all the answers.
4. Keep talking.
Tight deadlines provide the ultimate environment for stress. Don’t forget that what’s just another job for you, is significantly important to your client. It’s amazing how less stressful and more assured your client will feel if you take the time to provide small, unsolicited updates about the progress. A brief email with the status of the order, expected timing of the next step and a reminder that you have the delivery requirements noted will go a long way to providing peace of mind.
5. Don’t forget me
At the end, when you’ve delivered the order, the tendency is to cease communications. Your part in the process is complete. Wrong. Don’t forget to follow up. How did things go? Are the products you recommended working? How did the event go? This is the perfect time to show your client they mean more to you than that one order, that you’re invested in their success.