What does it take for clients to continue to choose your product or service over your competitors? Many small business owners seem to think it boils down your client service philosophy. Even if your product or service is needed, there is no guarantee your client will return to use it again. 

1. We first developed a plan for what it is we wanted to do; we then found out what our clients wanted (we actually took the time to meet with many of them). Our third step was to meld what we wanted to do with the services our clients told us they wanted. We pride ourselves in delivering 1% more. 1% more than our clients expect; 1% more than we did last time; 1% more than our competitors. Howard M. Rosen, CPA, JD, 

2. I always put myself in the position of the other person or company.  This means asking more questions at the start to understand their point of view and then delivering in a manner consistent with their expectations. The surprise is that so many companies put quick money above service (and so many customers expect so little).  If you cannot provide a great service for what you charge, you should tell people that in advance.  Sometimes they will accept less for less, but providing them with the right solution is always the best answer. Dan Walter,

3. Our customer service philosophy is based on honoring and acknowledging our customers individuality and being grateful for them.  Our practices includes, memorizing and using new and returning students name a few times in a class and on the phone (without having to ask the customer again what their name is).  If they tell me a little tidbit about their lives in small talk, I later (or if on the phone will make a note of it immediately) and then later reference that in my next conversation with them. Jasmine Kaloudis,

4. In this era, if companies want to have rapport with their customers, it begins by listening to the problem, actually owning the problem and delivering the solutions. In my business, owning the problem means owning the solution and always has. Andy Abramson,

5. My philosophy is pretty simple actually: be accessible and willing to help and always, always SMILE… They can hear it even on the phone or in an email! Nancy Shoemaker,

6. Everything we do for our customer is centered around making them money. If we can streamline their processes, sell them a product they can charge more for, back up their brand, etc., we have added to their bottom line. We are honest, we under-promise, over-deliver and we invest in our business so that they can plan for their future with us. Hazen Arnold,

7. We always have a human answer the phone. We exceed customer expectations on callbacks. We don't tell the customer we will call back later. We ask them for a specific time. And our hold music is not music, but a comedy routine. We keep the customer entertained. Arthur Zards,

8. What makes our client experience so valuable is we show genuine interest in our clients’ lives, learn about their personal values and create an intimate relationship with the clients. How we make our clients feel special is by being proactive, responsive, accountable and remembering what is most important to them. Evan Shorten, 

9. At the end of the year I send a present to all our customers. Yes, all 10,000 receive a gift from us thanking them for being our customer. It has been a free product or discount cards. Last year we sent them Jelly Bellies(R) in a cute pouch with a discount card. Everyone likes presents! We also have put together packages of good products (not clearance items) and given them a big discount and entitled them Prosperity Packages or Give It A Go--try and see how it works. Sandy Stein, 

10. I was an Operations Manager for over 15 years and was directly responsible for customer happiness. One day I realized that it wasn't just about contact or listening to the needs of your customers; it's a lot to do with training. I don't mean training your customers, I mean your employees. Today, it is very obvious by the lack of customer service out there that training employees is not an issue and should be. When a business sets the example, the message is filtered down. Make it important to you (manager) and it will be important to them (employee) as well. Maria Lazzati, 

11. Venissimo's mission is to share the goodness & glory of cheese. The receipt includes a complete description of every cheese purchased, including wine pairing suggestions. Plus, because it's too hard to remember the names of every cheese, we keep track of purchase history to help our guests remember their favorite fromage! The greatest compliment we ever heard was, "You should sue Disneyland because THIS is the happiest place on earth." Gina Freize,

12. Its not that the customer is always right - sometimes they have bad ideas or misguided expectations.  But our customers always have the right intentions - and so our service philosophy is to always respect the customers desire to achieve the most good with their efforts, and to try to find a way to accommodate the spirit of their requests, even if the specific request is a little off the mark. Roger Devine,

13. We make our customers feel special by hand-writing 'thank you' on all invoices that leave our warehouse, including a free sample with every single order, not having a minimum order and answering all email and phone queries within 24 hours. We have fanatical customer service and our customers have rewarded us for it. Anne-Marie Faiola, 

14. As an entrepreneur to solo/entrepreneurs, my customer service philosophy is simple: BECOME A PART OF THEIR ORGANIZATION. This is easy because I only work with clients whose vision I can see and believe in. I then manage my client load so that I can give each client complete and undivided attention with every interaction. My clients literally see me as working for them because I operate as if my business does not exist and I have no other clients to serve. Beverly Floyd, 

15. Thriving companies create a world-class experience, make their clients feel special and stay top of mind. Building and maintaining long term relationships is the key to sustainable success. Rod McKinnis,

16. I try to meet with my clients outside of our regular monthly marketing meetings at least a few times a year to connect with them on a personal level. Lee Deas,

17. When I find leads on other sites that could benefit a client or makes me think of them, I always forward it along with a personal note. Sometimes the forwards are regarding their personal interests, usually business. They are always appreciated. Susan Finch,

18. My three rules for success in my business is: Rule #1: Take care of the customer Rule #2 Take care of the customer Rule #3 Take care of the customer. Donna Gould,

19. We use specialized web-based tools such as Pivotal Tracker to track workflow at a very detailed level and achieve maximum transparency. The communication load is high, but it keeps the team cohesive and always moving toward maximum business value for the client. Obie Fernandez,

20. Every user is welcomed with a hand-written note and magnet from me. I love sending them because it's an opportunity for me to offer individual advice about making the most of our service; the magnet is a fun way for us to stay top of mind in the 'offline' world. Dana Ostomel, 

21. I send each client a weekly status report. If a week goes by and my client does not hear from me then they should consider me dead! William Michael,

22. Our customers may be going through a hard time adjusting to life having to use catheters whether it is from an injury or other situations. They need someone to talk to - so we're there for them. Our focus is on customer service. You're always going to talk to a live person. But also it comes down to the people that you hire. So we also try to do the legwork on the front-end to try and make sure we're hiring people who are compassionate and caring. Kieranne Robles, 

23. Listen to your clients. I know that sounds basic, but as an attorney, that is the number one way I get and keep clients. Frequently lawyers don't return calls, and even if you can get one on the phone, the conversation is often rushed and impersonal. By taking the time to listen to clients, I make them feel valued. As one client said to me "I know that I'm not your biggest client, but you make me feel like I am." Bob King, Esq.,

24. Create a process that is streamlined and systemized. Help customers manage costs and increase efficiencies. Al Uritis,

25. We actually compete with one another within the office to see who can find a more 'awesome' solution to a customer or client complaint, with the goal of really wow-ing them. The best way to get people to really care about you is to demonstrate that you really do care about them. Jordan Harbinger,

26. Our elevator pitch is 'the right people, with the right attitudes, surrounded by the right environment, will lead to great customer experiences.' Sage, as a whole, tries to equate the customer experience with a memory, because the memory of the company you take with you IS the experience." Doug Meyer, 

27. Pre-qualify customers before you work with them because they may not be a fit with you and your business. If you do everything possible to please this customer but they choose to continuously cause problems, then you need to fire them. Ashley Bodi, www.BusinessBeware.Biz 

28. Client expectations may not be realistic, so I always provide options with a variety of budgets, timelines, resources, etc. I value organic processes that enable me to paint a realistic picture of potential risks as they relate to client- and market-imposed constraints, and then adapt the plan as needed. Dave Ryder, 

29. Sometimes when you help a customer with a problem, they end up trusting and liking you more than if they had ordered and never even had a problem in the first place. Our philosophy is to reply as fast as possible and to simply give the customer what they want. Some companies fear the cost of bending over backwards, but if problem calls are only 2% of sales, then you can certainly afford that expense. We are now working to add online chat help to our websites as another way of simply being there immediately to respond to questions or problems. "Sex Toy Dave" Levine

30. As a start-up that ships live jellyfish all over the country, customer service is incredibly important. The largest obstacle we face with our customers is their trust in the shipping process.  Second to that is the jellyfish survival rate.  Customers want to know they can talk to an expert whenever they have a question.  It lets them know that we care about their jellyfish and we value their feedback.  As a result, it gives us important information on how we can improve.  We know having live jellyfish raises a lot of questions. Since the company started we have managed to increase the jellyfish lifespan to one year. That is a direct result of our customer feedback.  We can now boast that our jellyfish live longer in our tanks than if they were in the wild. Cameron Urban,

31. Clients feel special because we listen and tailor. We recently had a client who accepted our proposal primarily because we described in detail, in writing, what our understanding was of their current situation and needs. Knowing his situation in-depth and recommending an approach before he was ever asked to spend a dime was what impressed him. Ed Gagnon, 

32. Our customer service is special because we personally respond to every single email that comes and not with a form letter. We actually answer every question and end by asking, "Did that answer your question?" Carrie Rocha,

33. Gauge expectations if they are unrealistic and make corrections early in the process instead of creating disappointment at the end. Deliver on what you promised when you promised it. Be realistic about your timelines and make sure you can fulfill that customer's need. Dan Paulson,

34. I am a country funeral home and occasionally I gift a family with a free funeral. No questions asked. I am known for doing this when a family is truly in need. Affectionately known as the Green Reaper, many clients, colleagues and members of the public at large consider me their Portland-area go-to girl for making paper mache urns, finding sea grass caskets, or teaching regulations about burying a decedent (legally!) in their backyard. My philosophy is to always be compassionate. This is a gift and I want to give to every family that comes in my doors. Elizabeth Fournier,

35. How “personalized” you can make the service you provide is often the only differentiator in how "great" it truly is. One way we like to stay "top of mind" is with our unique communications. We use video, podcasts, and blogs as our way of staying in front of our clients. Charles Johnson, 


Do you have client service philosophy that keeps your clients YOURS? Share it with us!

WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: 

For over 18 years, Simplicity Mastered™ founder and CEO A. Michelle Blakeley has owned or managed small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Expert in her field, Blakeley personally guides her clients out of their Business Brain Freeze™ to streamline operations, increase return on investment, and attain quantifiable results. and each recommended her as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, joining the experts who know that Blakeley is a master at growing small businesses … and doing it with “Simplicity.”

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