How To Improve Your Customer Service As A Small Business

5 Star Customer Service

What is the importance of improving customer service?

There is a fine line between a good business and a great business, and that line can only be crossed when you implement decent customer service.

Good customer service will support your customers and improve their overall experience with your business. Large corporations are able to dedicate entire teams to their customer service, which is often how they get ahead.

It can be difficult to maintain this same level of customer service when running a small business. However, that does not mean that it is impossible. In fact, there are techniques that a small business can utilize because of their nature, which gives them an edge over larger companies.

This article will look into a few ways that you can improve your customer service as a small business, and how you may already be doing a great job.

A Personal Touch

man writing down notes on a sticky board

While it might be nice to have a huge customer service department, there are a few advantages to having to perform these tasks yourself.

Customers are probably grateful when they receive any type of customer service, but interacting with them as the leader of your business can give you an edge. You know more about your business than anyone else, which removes the disconnect faced by larger customer service departments.

You can improve your customer service as a small business simply by being there. A personal touch goes a long way to creating customer loyalty, so use it wisely.

Following Up

Your small business is going to have a decent flow of customers, but not so many that it becomes unmanageable. This fact provides smaller companies with a luxury not many other businesses have- time. Of course, you can’t get to know everyone that uses your services, but there will be a few regular customers every now and again.

Why not try to follow up on some of these people from time to time. They can provide you with unique insight into your business and tips to help you improve. Reaching out provides that personal touch that was mentioned earlier.

Following up on a few orders here and there shows that you care, and can give your customers a reason to return.

Send Thank You Messages

On a similar note, the smaller flow of customer traffic is far less overwhelming, which means that you can create an adequately sized database of all your clients. Some large businesses will often send an automated thank you message that is likely to be ignored. The customer will believe that this message is sent out of necessity rather than courtesy and not give much thought to it.

However, you are able to personalize your thank you messages a bit more as a small business. You can refer to the customer by name, or even make a note about their purchase. What’s more, you can also make some recommendations for further purchases.

These little acts can form a relationship between a customer and your business, something that is valued above all else in the world of retail. If a person knows you personally, they are far more likely to recommend you to a friend, or prefer to use your service over another provider.

Make It About You

The best thing about running your own business is that you can tailor every detail to work with how you operate best. There is no need to formalize everything, and there is less pressure to outperform other businesses.

These advantages can also be key to providing good customer service. You can do things your own way without having to worry about the bottom line. Sometimes it is better to lose some money on a purchase to gain a new customer for life. Working for yourself affords you the opportunity to make the decisions that you feel are right, instead of following sales targets. Get creative and take risks. After all, only you know how capable you truly are.

Hire The Right People

two woman talking while walking in an office

Small business customer service isn’t only doled out in the form of online thank you’s and customer follow ups. Most of your customer interactions will take place on the shop floor, which means that the staff you hire are representing you at all times.

The hiring process is tricky; however, the face to face interview technique will give you the chance to get to know your employee’s properly. Share with them your goals and how you would like to approach your small business customer service techniques. This approach also works for the tech providers that you use. Open phone is a good example of using a tech provider that can operate on both a small and large scale. Try to discuss a plan with these providers to gain the right outcomes for your business and its customers.

The right people will get on board with your ideas immediately, and only strengthen your customer service brand.

Handle Complaints With Professionalism

Unfortunately, not every business transaction is going to be perfect. Some customers are going to have an issue with your service and make a complaint. It is likely that these complaints will be minor, but you should be prepared for them nonetheless.

Again, everything comes back to that personal touch. You can email the customer personally and explain why you think things went wrong. Then, make an educated decision about how best to rectify the situation. You are your own boss, after all.

Also, try to be consistent with how you deal with these little snags. Customers that visit a small business will talk to each other. It would look extremely unprofessional if one customer receives their money back and an apology while another receives a gift card and nothing else. This approach could lose you two customers instead of just one.

Be Realistic

Piggy backing off of the last point, you should also try to be realistic with your customers. Honesty really is the best policy, and your small business can benefit from building up a bridge of trust.

If an item isn’t going to be in stock for a while, let the customer know so as not to waste their time. If something is out of their price range, negotiate where possible but don’t neglect your own profit margin to make a quick sale.

Some things require practice, but good customer service should always start with an honest approach.

The Customer Is Always Right

the customer is always right

You might not want to hear this but it is true what they say. The customer is indeed always right. This doesn’t mean that they can boss you around and make key decisions for you, but you still need to remember that you are there to serve them.

You should be prudent at times, but your customer will always know what is best for them. If they cannot afford something, don’t force it down their throat. What’s more, if they think you could improve your services in certain areas, give it a go and see if helps your business.

Two minds are better than one, and hopefully you will have hundreds of minds to help you on your business journey.

Summary

Good customer service comes from a willingness to help. Thankfully, most small businesses are designed with this in mind so you are half way there already. However, there is no harm in following our tips to improve your current level of customer service to boost your small business' overall revenue.

For more business tips and other interesting features, keep visiting our Farm SoHo blog. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs in New York may want to check out our coworking and office services, including small office space for rent in NYC.

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