In the absence of satisfied customers, no business can remain afloat, especially in the age of instant feedback. If customers are unhappy with the level of service your small business provides, many of them won’t hesitate to make their displeasure known all across the web. So, if your customer service leaves a lot to be desired, it’s in your best interest to tackle this problem head-on. Fortunately, bolstering your business’s customer service practices in a timely and low-stress manner is well within your abilities – provided, of course, you’re willing to put in the work.
Promptly Respond to All Customer Communications
No one likes being kept waiting – especially in customer service situations. For example, if you were to reach out to a business you regularly support and receive a massively delayed reply – or no reply at all – you’d likely think twice before offering that business your patronage in the future. That being the case, there’s no reason to assume that your customers aren’t of the same mindset.
So, if you or any of your team members have gotten into the habit of ignoring emails, text messages, phone calls and other communiques from customers for extended periods, this needs to change ASAP. The longer a customer has to wait for a response, the less important they’re liable to feel – and the less important you make them feel, the less likely they’ll be to offer their continued support. With this in mind, make a point of regarding every customer communique as a priority. Among other things, this entails promptly responding to all communiques received during normal business hours and offering sincere apologies to any customer whose message(s) fell through the cracks.
Consistently Express Gratitude
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like feeling appreciated. This is particularly true in the case of consumers, whose patronage and support keep countless businesses afloat. Since your business literally could not exist without loyal patrons, it’s only fitting that you express how grateful you are to these individuals at every opportunity.
In addition to being as polite and personable as possible in all of your customer interactions, take care to introduce various reward programs for frequent patrons. The exact nature of these programs is likely to vary depending on the types of products and/or services your business specializes in, but more often than not, they entail extending special offers to individuals who provide you with a certain level of patronage. Many restaurants, for example, provide customers with punch cards that culminate in free meals and/or large discounts after a certain number of punches have been collected.
You may also want to consider providing exclusive discounts to patrons who provide you with their phone numbers and/or email addresses. Having their contact info on hand ensures that you’ll be able to keep them abreast of developments within your business, as well as any upcoming events in which they may be interested. Just make sure to reward this trust by securely managing your customers’ data with the help of NXTsoft.
Make Amends for Errors on Your End
It’s human nature to go on the defensive when confronted with a mistake you’ve made. However, applying this type of attitude to customer service can prove extremely detrimental to your patron retention efforts and damaging to your business’s reputation. So, the next time a customer makes you aware of an error on the part of you or your staff, suppress the urge to instantly push back and try to see things from their perspective.
This isn’t to say that every customer complaint you’ll field is fully valid, but taking the time to hear people out can provide you with invaluable insight into your business’s shortcomings, as well as patron expectations. Additionally, a willingness to recognize your own errors and make amends for them can help assuage customer frustration and make inconvenienced patrons more likely to give you a second chance.
Good customer service is essential to the success of any small business. So, if any aspect of the service you provide leaves something to be desired, it’s in your best interest to address the issue posthaste. The sooner you work out the kinks in your customer service, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy positive feedback and repeat business. Small business owners looking to bolster their customer service would do well to heed the pointers discussed above.