Now more than ever, customer service is the life blood of small businesses. With businesses closing and contracting nationwide, service and satisfaction will make your customers stay loyal to you through the hard times we are in, and the ones that lie ahead. Repeat business is what will fuel the bottom line, so ensuring your customers are satisfied with every visit and purchase is vital to continued success. It’s important to realize that every customer experience needs to be treated with care. With information becoming so easily available online it opens your business up for increased exposure as well as criticism. For a fledgling business, just one bad review could mean a significant drop in revenue. There are many aspects of great customer service and it is necessary to train your staff to handle any situation. Here are some of the key ingredients of quality customer service.
Ensuring your staff is properly trained and has developed an expertise on your products and services is the first step in creating a great customer experience. When a customer has a question your staff should be prepared with an appropriate and accurate answer that allows your customer to make an educated purchase decision. This will help you to avoid dissatisfied customers and returns.
Your staff should also be fully versed in what the current mandates and regulations are for opening and operating your business.
Understanding a customer’s needs and being able to be empathetic to their complaints can help diffuse an otherwise volatile situation. When a customer has a complaint it’s important that you convey an understanding attitude and determine what you can do to make that customer satisfied. If a customer gets the feel that you don’t care about their issue, no matter how big or small, it could spell disaster for your reputation. Some of the largest complaints you are likely to receive are going to be about following rules and regulations (such as wearing masks, and reducing max capacity) which is obviously out of your control. A lot of these reactions come from fear and stress, so be kind when enforcing rules and try to diffuse the situation quickly.
Communication is important in all aspects of business but particularly when it comes to customer service. Ensuring that your clients are well informed before making a purchase increases the likelihood they will be happy with that purchase. Whether it be a question or complaint, your staff will need to be experts in active listening. Knowing what your customer is asking and being able to identify the root of their complaint makes for a fast and easy resolution. Make sure that you clearly communicate hours, current rules and policies you have in place, and if there are any changes in the products and services you are offering. This will keep your customers from being disappointed.
Professionalism takes many different forms depending on your industry and business model. This can mean prompt service, appropriate attire, professional demeanor and several other aspects of hospitality. A big part of running a small business is being personable and transparent but it’s still important to maintain a certain level of professionalism.
In hard times like these, consumers are being very picky about where they spend their money. Customers that feel like their business is appreciated are likely to return. Appreciation can be shown by offering frequent customer discounts or simply by saying thank you for your business. Customer rewards programs are a great way to build a loyal customer base and ensure customer satisfaction. Showing appreciation for your own employees also improves your chances of having happy customers as your worker’s attitudes will greatly affect their performance.
Body language is one of the keys to ensure you communication comes across as sincere. It also displays confidence in your product or service without saying a word. Alternately, having poor body language can reflect a lack of enthusiasm or energy, which negatively impacts the customer experience.
Knowing How/When To Apologize
It sounds like a simple concept but knowing when a customer expects an apology and how to deliver that apology can have a significant impact on conflict prevention and resolution. Sometimes a simple apology is enough to calm an irritated customer. Other times it may be necessary to sweeten your apology by offering a discount.
If a customer has a complaint it’s imperative that you respond in a timely fashion. Quickly addressing and bringing resolution to an issue or complaint can have long lasting effects. Providing an adequate response in a short period of time can actually help business regardless of the original issue.
Sometimes quality customer service comes at a price, but if you ask any successful small business owner, it’s worth every penny. Whether it be more staffing, a new website or an updated communication system, Quikstone Capital Solutions can provide you with the fast funding necessary to make your customer service top notch.