5 Simple Keys to Quality Customer Service

How small business owners can make sure clients remember you for the right reasons

“We help our clients focus on the things that are most important to them, like their career, their family and, most importantly, themselves,” says Tiffini Gatlin. As founder and CEO of The Atlanta Go To Girl, a concierge business located in Atlanta, Gatlin makes saving others time and money her priority. Incorporated early this year, the firm handles tasks small and large for clients. From personal shopping, courier services, transportation/travel services–including luxury cars and private jets–to nanny location services and meal preparation (e.g., chef, catering, etc.) and other services and requests. The concierge industry aims to fulfill the needs of its customers and clients, often by going above the expected, and offering the best customer service. Here, Gatlin offers five ways any newly minted small business owner can do the same.

Free samples. You are a new business and people don’t know who you are, so you have to get your brand out there someway, somehow, right? New customers and clients will want to know, “Why should I use you?” So be willing (when necessary) to offer pro bono work so they can see what it is that you do, so that they can use your services. But definitely be strategic as to who and how you use your freebie (or severely discounted) services/products in branding and marketing your company. Once you’ve given potential customers/clients a sampling of your offerings, they can then make a determination as to whether or not you are a company of choice for them.

Keep it consistent. It’s never a good look to wow a company or client the first time they use you, then the next time rolls around and your service/product is sub par. Make sure everything you offer your customers (think: overall experience) remains consistent—and something they’ll want to return for.

Be a standout. What separates you from your competition? “Remember, you’re always replaceable,” says Gatlin. “Someone can always go out and find a company that does the same things you do or offers the same products you offer.” You have to know what makes you a standout. At The Atlanta Go To Girl Gatlin says, “We have something called Express Milk where we help moms transitioning back into the workplace. We’ll go and pick up the pumped breast milk from them at work and take it to the nanny to give to the baby.”

Hire top talent. You want to make sure you have people on your team who have the same values as you. “If you allow employees who do not have the company’s best interest in mind to work within the organization, you are putting your clients, business and future in the wrong hands,” says Gatlin. Hire smart because great employees think (and profit) alike.

Be attentive. Constantly tell your employees and your clients what they mean to you. Because, as you know, without both you’re done. Connecting with your employees as well as customers work hand-in-hand. Gatlin notes the obvious: “If you have unhappy employees, you’re generally going to have unhappy clients.”

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Tell us what you think. What other advice/tips from your business experience can you offer someone in a different field or industry that has universal relevance?

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