When you eat at a restaurant what is one of the first things you notice? The décor? The lighting? The salt and pepper shakers? No - you notice the quality of the service. We’ve all had great experiences with certain businesses, but have also had poor ones. The difference is that a negative experience is way more detrimental than a positive one. Do you typically return to a place where you had poor service? Unlikely. When customers are unhappy, there’s a 90 percent chance they won’t do business with that company again. Those sales could make or break a small business.
Customers who have had a bad experience are two to three times more likely to write an angry review than customers who had a great experience are to post a good one. Think about it – when you have a negative experience – what is the first thing you do? Share your story with your friends, family and co-workers. You warn them not to spend your money at that establishment. You post a scathing review on social media and rip the business to pieces. But on the other side – how often do you post positive reviews? Not as often.
That’s what makes good customer service so important for small businesses – especially ones that rely on every dollar to survive. Providing excellent customer service creates loyal customers and can even lead to more sales. Here’s some ways to do that…
Know Your Product
It may seem obvious, but knowing your product inside and out is key to providing good customer service. Make sure you and your staff all know how your products or services work. The more knowledgeable your staff is, the more helpful they can be to customers. Make sure your staff is providing consistent and correct answers to satisfy customers.
Listening means truly hearing what your customers have to say. While you may have solved similar situations in the past, each customer deserves your full attention. Listening can help you get to the root of the problem quickly and on the path to solving the issue.
It’s very important to respond to all inquiries as quickly as possible. It can be as simple as – “we’re looking into the issue and will get back to you.” Some response is better than none so the customer doesn’t feel unappreciated and ignored.
Asking for customer fedback is just one step in creating a better customer service experience. What you do with that data is just as important. Take time to regularly review feedback, identify weak areas and make necessary changes to your business.
Customer service often involves emotion, so it’s vital to make sure you and your team are always courteous and respectful. Never let your own emotions impact a conversation with a customer in negative way. Be friendly, say thank you, and watch your customers leave happy.