Big businesses have the resources to hire and train armies of customer service representatives – men and women whose only job is to make sure buyers are satisfied. But for smaller firms, the logistics of hiring a customer service team is much more complicated, and potentially too costly to handle.
For those small businesses, providing stellar customer service is even more important.
The loss of even a single buyer could have devastating consequences for the bottom line. So how can small businesses improve their customer service and keep those repeat shoppers coming back? Here are 10 simple ways small firms can enhance their customer service efforts.
1. Go social.
Social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok can be powerful tools for customer service, and they are free to use. Engaging on social media is one of the best ways to improve customer service in the digital age.
2. Focus on building your brand.
For small businesses, branding can create real value, but it can also create a relationship with customers. Building rapport with customers is an essential first step when improving service, and it is always a good place to start.
3. Treat every customer with respect.
Whether they buy $5 worth of products or $500, every buyer deserves respect. Treating customers fairly is essential, and that fairness will pay big dividends in terms of long-term loyalty.
4. Reach out to former customers.
Sometimes what customers do not say speaks volumes, and you may never know your customer service efforts are failing until you ask. Reaching out to one-time customers who never returned can be very enlightening, and these efforts could be key to improving your efforts going forward.
5. Empower your employees.
No matter what the nature of your business, the people you hire are the face of that enterprise. Empowering workers to make independent decisions and solve problems is essential to providing stellar customer service.
6. Solicit feedback.
It can be hard to know what customers are thinking, so why not ask them? Soliciting feedback with short surveys and questionnaires will allow you to fine-tune your efforts and meet customers where they are.
7. Avoid false promises.
It is better to under promise and over deliver than to overpromise and fall short, so watch out for false promises that could leave customers fuming. Know what you can offer before you reach out, and look for compromises that will leave both parties satisfied.
8. Quantify the cost of attracting a new customer.
Losing a customer is easy, but gaining a new one can be difficult – and costly. Quantifying these costs will drive home the value of customer service, so you and your employees will know exactly what is at stake.
9. Treat your employees right.
You cannot expect disgruntled workers to provide top-notch customer service, so treat your staff with the respect they deserve. Giving your workers the tools they need to solve problems on the spot will be good for your customers, but it will be even better for your business.
10. Never be content.
Even if you think your current level of customer service is as good as it can be, there is always room for additional improvement. Keep looking for ways to improve your customer service efforts, so your small business can grow ever larger and more successful.
It does not matter what your small business does or what kinds of products and services it sells; without a steady stream of happy customers, your firm will not be around for very long.
And no matter how great you think your customer service is, you can always make it even better.