The customer is always right – right? Regardless of whether you agree with this statement, satisfied customers are loyal customers. And loyal customers keep you in business with repeat visits and referrals. On the other hand, an unhappy customer is like a cancer cell that will spread word of a bad reputation virally.
You, as a small business owner, should always strive to improve customer service, and better yet, achieve superior customer service that sets your business apart from the competition.
Superior customer service can be achieved, and it starts with the first impression you make with a new customer. Their first few seconds in your store, on your website, or on the phone with a sales person, is vital to capturing their interest and loyalty. Make your brick and mortar store attractive with an appealing design and smiling sales people. Train your employees to always acknowledge a customer, especially if they are standing in line. This gives the customer confirmation that they are important regardless of how busy the store is.
Listen To Customers
Whether a customer is browsing or approaching you with a complaint, you and your staff need to listen carefully. Superior customer service means surpassing customer needs. When you listen carefully, you and your staff can obtain the information you need to meet those needs, as well as add the extra value that gives that “wow” factor to a customer.
Answer Calls Promptly
If you have a customer phone line, be sure you are staffed to answer calls promptly. Overwhelmingly, consumer prefer a live-person answer to a recorded “prompt” menu. Answer calls before 3 rings. Train phone reps to answer with a brief introduction and ask how they can help the customer.
One trick is to simply smile while talking. A smile helps create a cheerful voice and attitude. When customers’ calls are answered immediately, they feel important and know that their business matters. That’s superior customer service.
The Customer May Not Always Be Right
Customers will complain, but superior customer service doesn’t mean cow-towing to every customer demand. You and your staff do have the power to satisfy a complaint. Replacing a damaged product is an obvious solution. However, when a product works as promised, or the service is delivered as promised, and a customer is still not satisfied, you may have to look outside the box. That may mean asking the customer what it would take to satisfy them. If their demands are unreasonable, tell them so and give them an alternative solution. Always look for a mutual solution.
Always Give the Extra Value
Superior customer service means that your quality beats the competition in both service and product. Do you think your photography business would profit by giving away free portraits on Halloween? The next time all those customers, or their friends, think of a need for photography services, who do you think they’ll call? Go the extra mile. Give the extra value with your products. Your customers will think you are superior when you do.