It’s easy to assume that the customer service department is only there because a business wants to look good.
For example, you know at a big corporation you can complain and get a refund for something that you bought that was unsatisfactory, but does it really matter to the owners or CEO of the company? Are they actually going to change anything relevant to your experience? There is no answer unless you are the CEO of a big company.
For small businesses, customer service is one of the most important departments in the company. You can lose the loyalty of a customer with one bad customer service experience. There are three ways to make your customer service have a positive impact on your customers.
Unless you’ve founded Wal-Mart, you must ensure that your customers trust your company. Especially when it comes to small businesses, many customers rely on how they feel about a business to determine whether or not they continue to shop there.
For example, after visiting a small town, you’ll notice a hardware store or small grocery market that is open. If you ask around, people will inform you that the store has been open for years but after glancing around inside, you’ll see the prices are through the roof. Still, there are customers wandering in and out, making purchases. This is because they trust the company and what they stand for.
Small business make the effort to go the extra mile; to provide a customer with the knowledge and information they need to be successful in whatever it is they are looking for. The business builds a relationship with its customers and gives them a place to feel comfortable, to ask questions or simply get information. Trust is earned.
Sacrifice quantity for quality
Obviously you want more and more customers to find your business and make purchases, but it is important to stay aware of the customers you already have.
Relying too much on growing numbers and neglecting the customers who have developed trust and loyalty to your business can result negatively for everyone. Not only will the loyal customers feel abandoned, but you will lose their business.
You want to ensure you’re concern lies in the values of your business rather than simply the sales. If you’re creating a brand and reputation for your business, it will generally speak for itself. Of course you will need to market and have your customers spread the word, but people will talk positively about their experiences without any pressure from you.
Listen and respond
If you do have an unhappy customer, and it is almost a guarantee that you will, it is important that you listen and respond to their needs regardless of whether they’re right or wrong.
Customers like to know that their opinions are being utilized. They are the reason that your business is growing and continuing to stay open. Give careful consideration to their opinions and suggestions no matter how silly or foolish they may seem.
Customers that have emailed or called your business deserve a response in a timely manner, so be sure to answer all questions and concerns promptly, even if they don’t deem a reply. Customers that are angry and hard to deal with still deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and care. This lets them know that their issues do matter and you are willing to alter something to fit their needs.
Some people may say customer service is the key to a successful business. If you are still facing difficulties with your startup or small business, sign up for your free newsletter to Successful Startup 101. You will be able to receive exclusive business advice that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.