If you’re a small business, you wear multiple hats. Unfortunately, many business owners get so focused on getting the actual work done, they forget about the most critical service of all: customer service.
We encourage you to put this at the top of your list as this could make or break your business, especially in such a competitive environment.
How can you improve upon existing customer service efforts, or if challenged in that area, how do you create a process that makes a difference for existing and potential customers/clients?
If you’re a small business owner, it’s easier for you to get processes in place that will make a difference. A large company has a much more difficult time carrying a high level of service across all areas of their business.
To follow are some approaches that will help you get started:
From the time you spend “wooing” a new client to closing the sale, many business owners and sales staff are super attentive. However, once they sign on the dotted line, that’s where many business owners allow the gap to begin.
While actually, this is when you should start ramping up your customer service efforts and keeping your company top-of-mind.
- Monthly newsletters that have good advice and special promotions
- Learning their names and something that matters to them personally
- A random phone call to see how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to help
Keep your word.
Remember your earlier conversations where you promised the moon and the stars? If that’s what you did, now is the time to make sure you deliver on that promise – better get that lasso.
You may have attracted them with an exciting offer that includes several other incentives, but is that really what you’re providing? It’s not worth the ole’ bait & switch offer to get a new client.
After all, if you cannot fulfill that promise, you’ll not only lose the client, but negative word-of-mouth reviews will hurt your chances for future opportunities.
You need to be present and conscious that some customers or clients need more attention than others. Make sure you give it to them.
Is it difficult to promptly return a phone call or email because your business requires you to be away from technology for some time during the day? If so, it’s best to be upfront with your clients so they know what to expect as far as your availability.
Better yet, work with a virtual outsourced firm to make sure someone is there to respond quickly to your incoming phones and emails.
It’s better to receive a “Ms. XXX” is out of the office right now, but I can make sure she receives your message or is there something I can help you with?” than a much-delayed response from you, the business owner. You would be surprised at how comforting a live voice can be. You can train an experienced service to understand your company and provide responses to answer the immediate question or help them solve their problem.
Be a proactive problem solver.
It is true that “the customer is always right,” and is the mantra you should follow in your business. Even if they are wrong, it’s not important. What matters is how your clients feel at the end of the day.
If you treat them fairly and with respect, your customer loyalty will increase, directly affecting your bottom line as you’ll also be top-of-mind for future referrals. Kick your ego to the door with demanding clients and make it your goal to find a solution.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world when it comes to business. Bypass all of the competition by offering the best customer service and exceed expectations with your product or service. If you can provide a positive and memorable experience, you’ll build a solid customer base through referrals and the footprint you left behind.