Tip: Best Practices in the Workplace

Ask business owners what’s most important for their success and the majority will tell you it’s all about to providing the best customer service. How do savvy entrepreneurs translate this into a business strategy and what habits do they adopt to keep customer satisfaction first and foremost?

Long-term business owners often identify the same key factors as vital to success. The list may surprise you:

1. The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Despite flex-time, working remotely, and other innovations spawned by mobile technology, most successful entrepreneurs are early risers who get to their desks early and relish the opportunity to identify challenges and think creatively before everyone else clocks in.

2. First Things First
A logical extension of No. 1: Instead of beginning by opening up email and social media accounts, build your daily priorities around client needs. Start out by identifying what each customer or business partner needs today (e.g. timely information on a query or problem, an update on delivery dates or prices, or a heads-up on some breaking industry news). This way you are less likely to allow Twitter, instant messaging or other intriguing bits of information to distract you from your primary objective – anticipating and servicing the needs of your customers. True client service specialists never stop trying to provide more value for their clients. Their success is contingent on meeting deadlines and respecting budget parameters whilst exceeding expectations.

3. Listen More, Talk Less
Successful business leaders continually ask for feedback and listen to what people (customers, suppliers and employees) are really saying. If you pay attention to what customers are saying (or not saying), you may be able to spot unfulfilled needs, upcoming opportunities, or obstacles, and better understand what your clients value most. Being open to observations and opinions from others requires us to make a deliberate effort to set aside defensiveness and be willing to use constructive criticism to work better and smarter in the future.

4. See and Be Seen
Workplace technology lets us do a lot without interacting one-on-one with others. It’s easy to become a slave to efficiency, but it isn’t wise. Make the rounds and talk to your employees. Invite customers to lunch and attend industry tradeshows and seminars. Challenge yourself to keep expanding your network, and take the time to continue to meet new business contacts even when business is brisk.

5. All Work and No Play
It is almost impossible to remain fully focused at work and engaged with customers if you don’t take sufficient down time to rest and recharge your batteries. We all know that eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep are vital, but don’t deprive yourself of new experiences and hobbies that provide variety and interest to your life.

The ability to continually meet customer needs and improve responsiveness comes from a variety of sources. Successful entrepreneurs tend to actively nurture good work relationships and preserve balance in their work life.