Small, local businesses can spend lots of money on snazzy marketing that brings consumers to their door, but if those consumers don’t feel listened to and taken care of when they show up, that money might as well be wasted.
It’s the same story if a customer calls, emails or interacts with a business on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and has a negative experience.
Unhappy consumers won’t turn into repeat customers. Worse yet they may leave a negative review online or share their experience with all their friends and family. Ouch!
It’s a fact that running a business is hard work. Small business owners can get so caught up in the day-to-day operations that they forget to focus energies on important customer service basics.
- Be friendly. The simple act of smiling and being friendly with consumers goes a long way towards making your company likable. When customers like you (and your business) they are more likely to be forgiving if an occasional deadline is missed or if there are funky issues with a product.
- Respond to customers within 24 hours. Reply to emails, answer the phone and/or return messages within minutes or hours, not days. Monitor social media profiles daily to respond to customer feedback.
- Talk less, listen more. Tune in to what customers are really asking for and then find ways to give them what they need.
- Do what you say you are going to do. If you promise to deliver a product on Monday, be at a meeting at 2 p.m., or email a quote tomorrow, make sure to do so or contact the customer with an update.
- Say thank you! Put a system in place to consistently thank consumers for contacting your company and/or choosing your products. This can easily be done in-person at the sales counter, via email or by hand-written notes.
- Educate your employees. Have a plan for educating employees how to deliver great customer service. Set a great example – model how you want customers to be treated in your place of business.
Ready to learn more about using stellar customer service to leverage marketing dollars spent, reduce the risk of negative reviews online and grow your business? Check out some of these articles by customer service expert Shep Hyken: http://www.hyken.com/blog.
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