‘It’s not the employer who pays the salaries, he only handles the money. It’s the customer who pays the wages.’ Henry Ford.
Have you walked into a store and found that no one is interested in serving you? Have you called a business to complain about a product and ended up waiting for an eternity before someone speaks to you? Have you ever emailed a company with a query and had the email disappear into oblivion? These are all glaring examples of poor customer service that most of us have had the misfortune to experience at some point of time.
If you think about it, why do you set up a business in the first place? The primary goal is to make profits. The profits can only come when customers are willing to pay for your product or service. So the most important mantra for any business worth its salt is top-notch customer service.Customers drive a business; if they stop coming around, you might end up having no business at all. Most businesses tend to take their customers for granted and pay a heavy price in terms of profits and reputation. It’s not your location, employees, machinery or warehouses; your customers are your biggest asset.
Customer Service for Small Businesses
Offering quality customer service is not applicable only to multimillion dollar businesses. You often find small businesses offering excellent customer service and enjoying thriving patronage from satisfied clients. Before long, you find that the small business has transformed into a medium-sized business.
This is the reason you find small kiosks, convenience stores and modest fruit/juice stalls often doing excellent business. The business maybe small but they have learnt how to keep their customers happy.
Customer service needs to be ingrained on a daily basis, they are the only reason your business exists. Customer service goes far beyond enticing customers with freebies, discounts and special offers – any enterprising sales employee can do that. A business that is able to build strong relationships with all its clients can look forward to a promising bottom line.
Why is customer service so important to a business?
There is a significant difference between good customer service and great customer service. Small businesses that learn to treat their customers well invariably laugh all the way to the bank.
It’s vitally important to make customer service a way of life because:
- Great customer service sets you apart from others. Keep in mind that customers have a wide range of choice when it comes to buying a product. You need to give them a strong reason to come back to you.
- If you offer superlative customer service, you are giving out an important value. Your business says that it values its customers and that they are a top priority. This is a good thing for two reasons: Your customers will back you up and the company image will receive a boost.
- The quality of customer service delivered determines exactly how well your business is going to thrive.
The secret lies in being able to ingrain excellent customer service as a way of life. Your customers should be able to enjoy a sense of confidence in your brand. They should be able to trust that as far as your business goes, they will always come first.
So how do you make customer service an accepted norm? Here’s a closer look at how to make customer service a top priority.
- Customer engagement: Train your staff to make eye contact and to address each customer For example, if you own a shop that sells electrical spare parts, encourage your staff to greet every customer and ask how you can help. If he asks for a product that you don’t have in stock, offer equivalent options. Engage the customer and offer other alternatives.
- Phone etiquette: Customers often make the first contact with a business employees. Train your staff to be courteous and patient at all times. Even as the customer is asking about your store opening hours or location, be patient and polite. It pays greatly. Rude staff members succeed in driving away valuable customers.
- Customer feedback: Your responsibility to a customer doesn’t stop with a sale. Follow it up with phone calls and/or emails to ascertain that your customer is satisfied with the product. By doing this you are accomplishing two things: You are indicating to the customer that you care about their satisfaction and you are showing them that you value their feedback.
Satisfied and happy customers are much more likely to recommend you to family and friends. This is a critical advantage to small businesses who cannot afford multimillion dollar publicity campaigns. No publicity is as valuable as the commendation bestowed by a happy customer. Keeping your customers happy will pay rich dividends in the long run