CUSTOMER SERVICE • November 3, 2014
2 minutes Read
Small Changes to Customer Service that Deliver Big Payoff
It makes good business sense to do everything in your power to keep current customers happy. The customers you have now are likely your best source for increasing revenues and for spreading the word about your small business.
The great thing about good customer service is that a few basic changes to your approach can pay back with big rewards. A slight modification to your company materials or some training of your team can net dramatic results and increase your likelihood of success.
Use the following customer service tips to keep customers loyal to your small company:
Say thank you
Thanking customers for their business is one of the simplest ways to make them feel good about being in your company fold. Employees will take their cue from you, so model good behavior and empower employees to thank people warmly by providing them with some examples of phrases to “warm up” a thank you. For example, you might suggest “Thanks for coming in today,” “Please let us know if we can help any further,” “Our pleasure” and other phrases that communicate appreciation. Also review all of your company communication—website, invoices, emails, texts and other materials—to ensure that your customer appreciation shines through.
Be easy to reach
Your business can only provide good customer service if customers can get in contact with you. Make sure that your contact information is easily available on all materials and on your website to communicate your commitment to service. Provide multiple means of reaching your company including phone and email. Respond as promptly as possible to customer inquiries, even if it is just to let them know that you are looking into their question or problem. Provide directions to your business location (if customers visit your business), hours and contact information on your home page to send a strong message that you want to be reached.
Remember that the customer is always right
The adage is old, but accurate. If your customer has a problem, a complaint, an annoying question or another point to make, listen and appease them. The good will that your company generates from someone on your team listening to and sympathizing with a customer’s issue will pay back many times over. On the flip side, an angry customer who is unsatisfied with their experiences is likely to spread the word about you. Be sure that your employees understand your customer-is-always-right stance. You can empower your team to provide great service by training them to listen patiently and giving them the authority to take steps to satisfy unhappy customers.
We all know the difference between a business that provides helpful customer service and one that doesn’t. Helpful businesses assist customers with thinking through their challenges, coming up with solutions and finding what they need. This can range from helping someone find an item in your store or on your website to brainstorming a gift idea to even providing a suggestion for where to buy something your business doesn’t sell.
Ask for customer input
Asking customers what they want is an important part of providing good service. Your best customers will enjoy being part of the process and will feel more invested in your company as a result. Customers with a complaint will know that you want to listen. Put out a suggestion box, have a customer suggestion email link on your site, ask for input on your company Facebook page or invite comments on your blog.
A common mistake many small business owners make is extending discounts and offers to attract prospects rather than offering the best deals to their loyal customers. Great customer service includes providing advance notice on products that are available with associated discounts if possible, promotions on regular items and other rewards for customers who are loyal.
The effort put forth to provide great customer service can increase sales and help to create positive buzz about your company. Review your current practices and make some small changes to take advantage of this powerful business-building tool.
Photo credit: michaeljung/shutterstock.com
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