Customer Service - The Big Differentiator
When you've been in business almost 12 years like we have, there are a lot of lessons that are learned. One of the most important for us has been giving our clients great customer service. It may sound simple but it's actually becoming a lost art in most businesses today. Early on we realized that clients appreciate great customer service and it's one of the best ways to retain clients.
Consumers typically buy from people they"like". That means if you're personable, courteous, offer a service they need, and great customer service, you have a better chance of earning their business and gaining repeat business. At Carolima's it begins with a simple return phone call or the acknowledgement that an email has been received. Let me be the first to say we're not perfect and sometimes we've fallen short with both but it's never on purpose. We've gained so many new clients simply because we have returned phone calls that other businesses have not. Crazy, right?
A business coach whom I follow closely on social media is Nicole Walters. I've even attended her conference where she taught us that offering a great product or service isn't enough. She reiterated that when people trust you the goal is to SERVE, SERVE, SERVE! You give all you can so that when the transaction is completed the client walks away feeling like they've been treated like royalty. It's been working for us all of these years!
Another colleague also shared with me that our business won't fit every client's vision for their event. Hence the reason we have a phone consultation with every client prior to providing a proposal. This doesn't always go over well with potential clients who are just price shopping but it also eliminates people who aren't serious about their event. If price is leading their decision to use a caterer we're probably not the best fit.
While Carolima's is not the least expensive catering company we're not the most expensive either. However, I've heard horror stories of catering companies showing up hours late for an event, food being subpar and the staff not being "clean". All of these are attributes we don't tolerate within our business. We're going to be professional, on time and food prepared fresh from scratch -every time!
Professionalism, timeliness, communication and quality of food are all a part of our customer service we offer. Sounds simple but everyone can't do it. If you don't believe me think about some of your experiences at the most recent events you've attended.
If you're a small business owner put yourself in your customer's shoes and think about how you might be able to improve on the level of customer service you offer. Are there areas in need of improvement? If so, try something different and you will be surprised at the results!.