7 Customer Service Tips for Small Businesses
December 1st, 2015 by Bunch & Brock
There’s an American proverb that states, “To keep a customer demands as much skill as to win one.” Certainly, customers are one of the fundamental building blocks shared across industries and among businesses. Whether it’s good or bad, customers remember how they were treated and, as a result, often choose to reward a company with brand loyalty or punish one through boycotts. In today’s online society, word travels fast. Service is critical, because consumers will move on if they don’t have a positive experience with a business. Offering great products or services may attract customers, but it doesn’t mean much if poor customer service sends them running to a rival.
To draw in new clients as well as to motivate people to keep choosing your business, there are a few things you can do to help yourself.
- Continually evaluate the customer experience. You might know what you want to project, but is your message really getting across? What does the average customer truly encounter when dealing with your business? All employees at public business environments should do their best to make eye contact with clients, be well groomed, use their manners and never imply that helping the customer is a chore or an interruption. Any ambience should be appropriate. Among other things, consider the temperature, airflow, décor, wall colors, floor plan and background music.
- Empower your employees. Let them know you trust them to engage with the customers, to represent the business positively and to not have all their decisions second-guessed. Those who receive warmth and respect from you will pass that on to customers. You can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees who don’t feel any ownership in what they are selling.
- Don’t wait for questions or complaints. Being proactive can save everyone time and aggravation. Offering assistance before being asked, or fixing a problem before receiving a gripe, shows customers you’re paying attention and can go a long way toward making them feel valued.
- Listen, especially to what is said on social media. After awhile, it can be easy to tune out common inquiries and complaints. Resist the urge. Customers want to know you care about and appreciate them. These days, social media can play a huge role in how your business is perceived and gives you a great opportunity to respond authentically while driving traffic to your website. Be careful not to let your good intentions devolve into a debate in a public forum, however.
- Respond to everyone in a timely, personal manner. If someone took the time to contact you, return the courtesy – and don’t delay. No one likes to wait for a reply that may never come, so even if you can’t resolve the issue immediately, at least let them know you’re working on it.
- Be polite. Developing a thick skin can be a challenge, but it’s a critical professional skill. Even when a customer is being demanding or rude, it’s important to resist the temptation to respond in kind. Remain helpful and try to keep the experience in perspective.
- Go out of your way for them. Generosity can make a great impression, one that is likely to leave a customer satisfied even if the main issue wasn’t resolved. Giving something they didn’t expect, such as a gift card or a complimentary service, can make a big impact on customer loyalty.
The Lexington business lawyers at Bunch & Brock have more than 35 years of experience helping clients successfully navigate business matters, and we can help you. To get started, or if you have any questions about this topic, call us at 859-254-5522. You can also reach us by filling out this online form.