Customer service is paramount to the success of any small business. The better your customer service, the more personally invested patrons will feel in your business’s success – and the more invested they are, the more apt they are to provide you with continued patronage and positive word-of-mouth. Conversely, if your business leaves a lot to be desired in the customer service department, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a noticeable downtick in repeat business or new customers. Small business owners ready to take their customer service to the next level will be well-served by the following tips.
Be Willing to Admit Mistakes
A complete unwillingness to own up to mistakes will do you no favors with customers. None of us relish dealing with people who regard themselves as flawless, especially in situations where we’re giving those people our money. So, if you instinctively go on the defensive every time a customer presents you with a problem, it’s in your best interest to correct this behavior ASAP.
The next time a customer comes to you with a grievance, try to see the situation from their perspective. This isn’t to say that every conceivable customer grievance is legitimate, but you’re liable to find that your business bears some level of responsibility for the bulk of the grievances that are brought your way. Furthermore, make a point of owning up to any mistakes made on the part of your business. Many consumers are far more willing to forgive blunders on the part of businesses when the responsible parties offer up sincere apologies and make genuine efforts to set things right.
While getting defensive when presented with a mistake you’ve made is basic human nature, this generally isn’t viewed as an endearing quality for anyone running a customer-facing business. As such, being willing to recognize mistakes on your end and make amends for them can be a boon to your customer service.
Educate Repeat Offenders
If certain members of your team leave a lot to be desired when it comes to customer service, you’d do well to educate them. Although most people who work in customer service are bound to have the occasional complaint leveled against them, team members whose approach to customers receives consistent criticism will need to be set straight. After all, depending on the size of your business, it may only take one exceptionally unobliging employee to tank your entire reputation.
With this in mind, make a point of educating repeat offenders on the tenets of good customer service. In some cases, these individuals may not even realize that they’re being rude or discourteous. However, if a team member is fully cognizant of their rudeness and displays a complete unwillingness to change it, disciplinary measures may be in order.
Extend Special Offers to Regular Patrons
Everyone loves to feel appreciated, and customers who feel that their patronage is valued are likely to continue supporting your business. As such, you should consider extending special offers to people who have consistently provided you with business. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to go about this.
Depending on the types of products and services your business offers, stamp cards that result in a special gift whenever a certain number of stamps have been collected can be effective tools for keeping patrons coming back. You may also want to encourage customers to provide you with their contact info, as this will enable you to send them emails and text messages that contain exclusive coupons and/or make them aware of upcoming offers. Additionally, depending on how much you know about someone’s preferences, you can even tailor special offers to meet a customer’s individual needs. Financial institutions looking to provide customers with a convenient banking experience should consider utilizing a highly-rated API for FIS.
If your small business routinely fails to deliver on the customer service front, your financial bottom line is likely to suffer. Customer service should be a priority for every business, regardless of size, and if your business is lacking in this regard, there’s no time like the present to get a handle on things. Equipping yourself with the pointers outlined above can help you step up your customer service and lay the groundwork for long-term patron satisfaction.