In these still challenging economic times it is more important than ever to provide world class service. The old adage that keeping an existing customer is a lot cheaper than getting a new one rings even truer today. In a world of endless phone menus and computer voice recognition programs it seems that some organizations take their customers for granted – something you shouldn’t even consider!
Organizations that don’t take their customers for granted are positioned to grow as the economy turns around. Arts and creative enterprises are no different. When you hear the brand names Amazon, Zappos, Apple or Southwest Airlines you will probably associate them with great customer service. Whether you are a one person studio or run a larger operation you need to take care that your customer service image is world class.
What is customer service?
Customer service defines your business in the eyes of your customers and others your art business touches either directly or indirectly. It begins with the initial contact with a customer or prospect. This could be in-person, on the phone, by email or via website. It is important that you do your best to make sure the customer has a great experience. Think about how you present yourself at first look – first impressions are very powerful and are hard to change if they are not positive.
Customer service does not stop once you have made a sale. It carries all the way to follow-ups on sales and continuing communications. Great customer service should be of running your business not a thing you do.
Some questions to ask:
- Are your customers satisfied?
- Do you ask your customers how you can improve your customer service and the overall experience of doing business with you?
- Do you make great customer service an integral part of your art business?
- Do you under promise and over deliver?
- Does your customer service reinforce your brand?
- What makes your customer service unique?
- Are your customer service efforts authentic?
- Is your service better than your competitors? If so, why or how? If not why?
- Do you track or measure the level of customer service you provide?
- Do you go that extra mile to make sure your customers are satisfied?
- Are you using social media and other online resources to improve your customer service?
The bottom line(s)…
Great customer service is key to having a healthy and growing business. Strive to provide the best customer service, one which will help you stand out from the competition and have your customers talking about you. Don’t forget to get feedback from customers about the service you provide – this is the only way to know if you are on the right track. If you would like to learn more about building your art business and selling more art I invite you to check out my book – The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox. Good Luck!
Neil McKenzie is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver where he teaches “Marketing the Arts”.
Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto