Customer Service: 6 Tips for Small Businesses
In this era of endless options, customer service truly has the power to make or break a small business. If your customer service is great, you’ll be more likely to retain customers and garner brand loyalty. If your customer service is lacking, people will likely take their time and money elsewhere. Great products and services may attract new customers, but great customer service is what motivates people to keep choosing to do business with you.
These 6 tips will help ensure that your customer service is the best it can be.
1. Be Proactive
Don’t wait for customers to come to you with questions or complaints. If you can offer assistance up front, or identify and fix a problem before the customer complains, you’ll be saving you and your patron valuable time. Not only that, you’ll be fostering a positive relationship that lets the customer know you’re paying attention and eager to help.
2. Respond Promptly
Whether an inquiry comes in via phone, social media, email, an in-store visit, or some other channel, it’s essential to respond in a timely fashion. No one likes to be stuck on hold for ten minutes or wait a week to hear back via email. Even if you can’t resolve the customer’s issue immediately, getting in touch to let the person know that you’re working on a resolution is vital.
3. Listen up
If you receive the same kinds of complaints and questions on a regular basis, it’s easy to stop listening carefully when customers contact you. Keep in mind that, while customers may be reaching out about a specific issue, they’re not just contacting you for an answer. They also want reassurance that you care about them as an individual and value their business. Make sure to give each patron your full attention.
4. Make It Personal
One of the benefits of technology is that we can use it not just to capture information, but to learn more about the people we interact with. Again, when a customer calls in with a problem, they don’t just want the problem solved—they want to be known and appreciated. Using data such as name, purchase history, personal preferences, and last in-store visit can change an ordinary customer service interaction into an experience that will secure someone’s loyalty for life.
5. Keep It Courteous
Certain customers seem to go out of their way to be difficult and demanding, regardless of the experience they’ve had with your business. When someone is being confrontational or downright rude, it’s tempting to respond in a similar fashion. We all know how that tends to go down: Not well. Resist the temptation to sink to the customer’s level and remain courteous and helpful at all times, even when doing so is a challenge.
6. Go the Extra Mile
When a customer talks to a customer service representative, they expect to have their issue resolved in a timely fashion. Go beyond the expected and give your customers something they didn’t anticipate, whether it’s a free drink on the house, a gift card, a complimentary warrantee extension, an off-hours service visit, or something else. Be generous with your customers, and they will be generous with you in return.
The Bottom Line
What separates good customer service from excellent customer service is response time, attention to detail, and generosity. With a little extra effort, you can make a big impact on your customers and their loyalty to your business.