It’s not surprising that when your customer service exceeds expectations, your sales really flow. Afterall, happy customers keep coming back, spend more and tell others. But what really defines great service and how do you take advantage of this small business opportunity?
Creating a great buying experience takes more than simply doing your job. It’s about making people feel important. Being helpful and responsive. Taking responsibility if something goes wrong. Or simply listening attentively to them.
When it comes to service, small businesses have a major advantage over bigger companies because of your close and local relationship with your customers! This personal connection makes you more accessible. Therefore, customers often perceive you as more trustworthy. And as they say, people do business with people they know and trust!
Customer Service: Questions to Consider
Knowing what helps define great service, here are two questions to really consider.
- Does your business consistently provide customers with a great buying experience from start to finish?
- How does your customer experience compare with others they do business with — both inside and outside your industry?
When it comes to business improvements, the customer experience is often overlooked. Here’s why. Many business owners believe they offer really good customer service. But customers, when we actually ask them, don’t always agree. And sometimes the gap is really big!
This points out something important when it comes to service and satisfaction. By definition, a customer’s satisfaction is the gap between what the customer expects and what he/she gets. It applies to all areas of the business, including customer service. And, it transcends over all industries. Customers do not compare your service levels with others in your industry; they compare it to other companies they do business with!
3 Steps to Better Customer Service
- Develop and define the standards of service you want your customers to receive. Consider what is important to you. when you make a purchase or encounter a problem.
- Train your people to deliver those standards consistently. Yes, it helps to hire people who care! But it also helps when your people understand what is expected and why this is important to customers.
- Set the expectations for your customers and manage those expectations well. As the saying goes, better to under promise and over deliver!
If you are not sure how your service measures up, do a little research. Pick up the phone and ask your customers to participate in a brief phone survey — and really listen! Check out online reviews that are relevant to your business – what are your customers really saying. Implement a mystery shopping program (they are not just for retail establishments). Get feedback and ideas from your team, especially those on the front line!
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