The one thing owners and managers of small businesses are after is business growth and the extent to which a business can provide a great customer experience goes a long way in determining the extent of growth. The bad news is many small business fail at this. However, others have used excellent customer service to transform their businesses from good to great! These set of small businesses seem to understand how to manage their customers and have therefore established enough trust to not only keep existing customers, but to also attract new ones. From my experience running a business and the challenges I have had to face, I have put together 7 things you can do right now to improve your overall customer service experience.
- Pay attention to what your customers are saying. In fact the best customers are the ones that give you feedback – because such feedback can serve as springboard to what you need to change to improve how you do your business and your overall product / service offerings.
- Pay attention to how you want to be perceived and start showing up like that. In situations where customers have to visit your office / store in person, you need to pay attention to how you want to be perceived. First impression matter, and the subsequent impressions too. The truth is you want to ensure you are showing up exactly how you want your business to be perceived. This means when someone interacts with your brand (be it in person, in a chat, on the phone and so on), the message you are passing across about your brand is same across channels.
- Be sure that the values your business represents are clear and are communicated with every body in the organisation – from the CEO, to the manager, the customer service officers, the social media handler, the dispatch, every single person. Do not leave out any one.
- Pay attention to the little details. You can’t have a glamorous social media presence, and then your delivery packaging is not in sync with what you preach. The little details matter and they help in determining brand perception.
- Hire Right and Train them: Great customer service delivery can set you apart from other brands and especially in an overcrowded market. What will a small business do when the company begins to grow and customers are making repeat purchases and new ones are added regularly? The key is to not wait until it’s too late before you start hiring right. You want to get staff with good human relation skills and you also want to invest time and resources to train them.
- Be sure that customers and clients are able to do business with you smoothly. Some time ago, I purchased an item from a reputable online business. I was expecting an update from them after a few days, but no update aside the initial email confirming my order. Long story short, the item never came then I got an email informing me that the item I purchased was sold out. I immediately requested for a refund. The customer service officer told me they do not issue refunds, she suggested other products, but I was not interested in the offerings; in this case the best they could do for me was to put my funds in a wallet on their website so I could use same for future purchases with them. Just look at that! The competition is quite fierce, consumers have a lot of choices these days. Once I found an alternative to that brand, I moved on. Why should customers come to you? To what extent are customers able to do business with you smoothly? Can a customer easily get in touch with you? Is your delivery process smooth? Do you respond in a timely and efficient manner? If they want an exchange, is it easy for them to reach you and get an exchange? Are customers able to get refunds for damaged or unavailable items? What about after sale service? Creating a smooth process is not the easiest thing to do, if it was, every business will have a great process. But it’s not, that’s why only few succeed. I believe you are one of those few.
- Use Technology: As your business grows, it might become more difficult to manage your budding customers. This is where technology comes in. Use technology to automate repetitive processes; Some examples are automated response (ensure you actually follow up); including an FAQ page on your website where you have answered all possible customer related questions and inquiries; having a contact form with pre-defined subject matters among others.
The goal of every business is to build trust, good customer service delivery can help in building trust and it begins with the very first contact a customer has with your business. Once you constantly do your best at providing great customer service each time a customer gets in touch with you, the trust they have established at the first interaction with your brand will grow. When customers trust you, they will keep coming back to you. The more they keep coming back, the more you increase the customer lifetime value. An increase in customer lifetime value will lead to an increase in revenue.
Keep in mind, the growth of your business is at the other end of great customer service