As a business owner, you are likely aware of how important customers are for the vitality of your operation. Without them, you could not stay afloat. Therefore, it is important to provide them with the best experience possible. Consistently having a good experience at your place of business will make customers want to return again. If there are issues, they need to be addressed as soon as possible. This will help you stand out from the competition and make your business a thriving enterprise.
1. Be Consistent
Consistency is key if you are trying to attract customers and keep them in your business. No one wants to go into a place of business never knowing what to expect. At some businesses, you might have a great experience one day and a terrible one the next. Eventually, the bad experiences will outweigh the good, and customers give up on you. Instead of making clients ride this customer service rollercoaster, commit to making the experience a positive one every time.
2. Train Employees
Everyone has to start somewhere, and every employee is new at some point. However, they may not be the best ones to put on the front lines with your customers. Make sure that you properly train all of your new hires on their specific job functions, software programs used and daily procedures. This makes everyone more competent, and customers love competency. If you do have a new employee working closely with customers, make sure that you have an experienced worker closeby to help answer any questions.
3. Monitor Customer Interactions
One key to minimizing customer complaints is catching problems before the clients do. While mistakes are inevitable, you want to be able to catch them quickly. Software programs like runbooks can help you do just that, and it can make your entire operation more efficient. If you are able to address and resolve an issue before the customer has time to complain, you will appear more competent in his or her eyes. Remember, customers love competency.
4. Gather Customer Feedback
Everyone needs an outlet to share a good or bad experience with a business. Let your customers know that you value their opinions, and create easy ways for them to leave feedback. This can be quality cards given at a restaurant, a phone survey after an issue is resolved or an E-mail request for an online interview. Customers will appreciate your dedication to finding out what made their experience great and what could use some adjusting.
5. Be Polite
One great customer service tip that is so essential but often overlooked is this: Be polite. There is too much rudeness in the modern world, and you can attract more customers if you have a reputation of treating people well. This means treating your clients, distributors and employees well. It does not take a lot of effort to simply give someone a smile and ask how his or her day is going. Try this simple tip that makes a big impact on everyone around you.
6. Follow Up
Customers should know that they are important to you even after they walk out the door. You should make it clear that you are a resource to be contacted at any time and not just a salesperson. Following up with customers after a meeting or sale can be a great way to stay connected. It shows that you care and are genuinely interested in helping your clients. To keep track of your follow-up reminders, keep a log of each client with whom you interact.
7. Role Play Customer Service Situations
There are situations in which customers can be difficult to handle, and it can cause employees to panic and make poor customer service decisions. While unruly behavior by a customer should not be tolerated, it is important to have the skills to diffuse a situation. This can be a separate training seminar in which all employees are required to participate. For example, you can teach employees how to manage a customer who comes in upset about a bill. When all else fails, contacting a manager can help resolve a situation more quickly.
8. Create a Dedicated Customer Service Department
Customers should always have a point of contact for a business. No matter how small your operation is, you should have a person dedicated to overseeing customer service. Of course, this does not have to be his or her only job; it can be one of many duties. This makes the process for preventing and resolving complaints more efficient. Instead of no employees feeling responsible for diffusing the situation, there will be someone to take charge and make things right.
9. Take Complaints Seriously
Sometimes, it can be too easy to dismiss customer complaints and shrug them off. However, a business owner should take all customer feedback seriously — the good and the bad. If someone complains about a specific part of his or her experience, try to think of what could have been done better. If he or she leaves a review that is nonspecific, get in contact to find out what the issue is. Customers will appreciate that you take their feedback seriously and will be more likely to leave honest reviews.
10. Addressing Issues
When a legitimate problem does arise with a customer, resolve it as soon as possible. You should be apologetic about the mistake you made, but also commit to fixing the situation in a timely manner. This is the making or breaking point for keeping a customer’s loyalty, so it is important that you do what you can to show your sincere concern. Let the disappointed party know that you will strive to offer a better experience in the future and that you intend to resolve the situation fairly.
As a business owner, you likely wear many hats, and your customer service hat is an important one. Make sure that you are proactive about preventing customer complaints and reactive in addressing them. When you appreciate your customers as you should, you can enjoy a mutually beneficial professional relationship for many years.