Customer service has always been a huge part of doing business, and in our hugely competitive, global market, it’s become even more important than ever. Folks put a lot of stock in the online customer reviews they read, and disgruntled customers are not typically shy about speaking their minds. The digital age has also opened up the door to instant gratification – which people have come to expect when it comes to timely replies from your company.
Since voice over talent works so closely with clients, delighting customers is especially vital in the VO industry. Keeping our clients delighted involves staying on top of our game while avoiding these top customer service mistakes.
Putting New Customers above Existing Customers
Some businesses offer amazing deals, free gifts and all types of perks to new customers to generate new business, forgetting the existing customers who helped to get them where they are. This can happen in the voice over world when talent puts a priority on gaining potential new clients at the expense of existing ones. Some mistakenly assume once they land a client, the client is already in their corner and they needn’t continue to cultivate the working relationship.
How to Fix It:
Customer loyalty is not something that comes automatically, and ignoring your current customer base is a surefire way to test it. Treat existing customers with the same level of enthusiasm you do new customers. Offer them perks, nurture relationships and quickly respond to their needs. I regularly touch base with my existing customers through an email newsletter, and I also offer a Client Loyalty Rewards Program.
Delay in Communication
When you snooze, you lose. Speedy delivery of an audition or communication back to a client can be critical for proving you’re a professional, ready to deliver what’s required.
How to Fix It:
Respond ASAP to all inquiries, especially new ones. Being the first to respond is often what lands you the job. Because I’m a full-time voice talent, I’m on my computer all day, checking email about every 15 minutes or so. I always aim to respond immediately to requests for quotes, auditions or project details. We all love it when we get an immediate response, so do everything you can to provide that to your customers and prospects.
Over-Promising and Under-Delivering
Demos are great and necessary, but make sure you can deliver that same performance in a session with a client, or even just on your own, without one-on-one coaching. This especially holds true for newer voice talent in the market.
How to Fix It:
Under-promising and over-delivering is a much keener strategy, and it will lead to stronger client loyalty. While you still have to meet deadlines and do your best to give clients what they’re asking for, under-promising often provides the opportunity to exceed their expectations. Delivering the finished recording earlier than promised will most certainly elevate your value in the eyes of your client, prompting them to hire you again and again, and even refer business to you when appropriate. On the other side of the coin, keep in mind that clients sometimes ask for the impossible, and it’s important to be honest about what you can deliver. Your client will appreciate your integrity.
Also make sure you’ve developed your skills and talents to a level where you can deliver whatever a client needs in a session. Reaching this level takes time, practice and good coaching. Even if you don’t get direct feedback from the client you can usually tell if you ARE delivering what they want. The session will go smoothly, and you won’t have to spend inordinate time providing multiple takes.
Not Listening or Understanding What the Client Wants
Doing it your way doesn’t always work for delivering exactly what the client wants. It’s imperative to understand all the details of the job, from the vocal tone and style all the way to the technical issues. These include format, file labeling, delivery method, audio processing requests, and other details. You need to be clear on client expectations before you even begin.
How to Fix It:
If you’re not sure what the client wants with a script, ask more questions until you do. Some of my clients like to provide direction during a live recording session, in which case I set up my phone patch so they can. This often saves everyone time and trouble, allowing for hand’s on direction in real time, resulting in an approved, final product the FIRST time through, avoiding a lot of back and forth over email.
When it comes to technical issues, talk to other voice over talent or do online research to find out what you’re expected to know about different file types, delivery methods and other details. Sometimes you’ll be asked to provide something you’ve never provided, which can be a cue to learn something new and add it to your offerings.
Being aware of the top customer service mistakes is the first step to avoiding them. The next step is making sure you’re covering all bases when it comes to satisfying customers. You’ll be on the right path if you treat every customer as your best customer, delivering exactly what they want as quickly and professionally as possible.