Great customer service – Every small business owner desires customers, not only that but “Loyal customers.”
They are the reason you are in business, aside money, they are the live wire of the organization.
Study shows that it cost small businesses five times more to attract a new customer in actual sense of it all, this meant to say “Your small business will soon pack up without sustainable customers in your confine.”
With that said, let me walk you into appreciating the roles of a great customer service.
If however you’re a small business owner, I implore you to read this piece as it promises to be an eye opener and mind blowing encounter.
What Is Customer Service?
Like the name implies, it’s a playing ground that inhabits your customer and the service you render.
It is your ability to make provisions to satisfy buyers who come calling at your business location.
This is your readiness to ensure that a buyer who comes to buy from you is actually getting the services he/she is paying for.
Your customers are paying and getting values for their money or are paying for genuine services rendered and the truth is, listening to your customers impacts your bottom line.
Customer small business relationship however, goes beyond the ordinary yardstick as I am going to show you in this guide.
Having painted the above, it then becomes necessary to lead you into understanding the concept of great customer service.
Great Customer Service
This is when despite offering value to a customer, you as well leave the customer with extra satisfaction in his/her memory.
This service will grant you repeat customers, even when other competitors offer better prices than you do. Here’s why repeat customers are better than new ones.
You have to surpass the customer’s expectation, “waw” the customer, create a relationship that will be difficult to come in between by any competitor.
This simply indicates the extent to which a customer is dedicated and committed to your products come small business. So, you must know your customers and gain their loyalty.
This does not happen by magic, it takes a consistent but yet a positive emotional experience with a physical attribute, built upon satisfaction derived from your services over time.
I subsequently reiterate that it pays so much and takes less effort to keep an existing customer than get a new one.
An existing customer already understands you and the product, you’re consequently not expected to take their patronage for granted.
As a small business owner, the journey to great customer service begins with your brand.
You should be able to provide goods and services the consumers are ever willing to buy, having met this position, it becomes so easy for customers to part with their money knowing they are getting value for their money.
It then becomes necessary to conduct a proper market research before deciding your line of product, the consumer behavior and taste, surely is the pivotal point that gears and decides the extent of experience a customer can nurture.
A market research leaves you with a lead to whether the consumers are in need of the proposed product, if your discovery says yes, then find a way to fine tune the product to maintain a unique value proposition (UVP).
Brand perception refers to what and how your customers feel about your product, business is sure built on consumer relationship, brand perception however sets the tone.
The customer’s experience makes a summation of your brand perception and that must be kept at the top of your priority for a small business great customer experience.
Having won the strategy on brand perception and the tone set right, the next step to a great customer service is your employee.
Employees as regarded as workers on your payroll who interact with your customers and conduct the day to day activities of a small business which goal is to make profit.
If you do not have one yet, the responsibility of an employee then falls on you only if you know how much harm or good your employee will be doing to your business, if you pay less attention to them.
They are the pivot and ambassadors of an excellent customer experience.
Hence the importance of a good employee cannot be overstretched. You should seek out employees with the following qualities if you want to have repeated business with your customers
1.) Passionate employee – A passionate employee is that who loves his/her job position and is willing to render genuine services to the small business customers.
Passion is the condiment and drive that gives rise to a great service delivery, passion ensures the employee is always at the A side of his/her delivery without which the business will suffer and die slowly.
Most small business owners have little or no knowledge about this, to them, it’s just get someone employed, show them the job roles and that does it, this is quiet wrong from every aspect of it and should be discouraged.
Passionate employees impact the business in so many positive ways, if an employee is passionate about his/her job, they are more likely to be satisfied with what they do order wise theirs is bound to be a lower output.
Passion do have positive influence on one’s entire health, physically, psychologically, emotionally and then creativity.
This creates an impact on job satisfaction, commitment and performance which gives birth to great customer service in turn.
How to identify passionate employees
Having put it up sleeve to be on the lookout for passionate employee, their hunt however starts from the recruitment process.
- You should be able to ask sensitive questions as:
- Why do you choose to work in this industry?
- What motivates you into applying for the job?
- How different do they think your product is from the competitors and many more?
Also Read: 4 reasons angry customers come at you
You should be able to read an informed genuine reasons, identify the motives to which these answers were given. Lying in between should reveal whether the candidate has a genuine passion for the job.
Arguments may give reasons into why this does not really reflects the candidate’s passion, it however warehouses strong points that should inform your Judgment.
2.) Customer focused employee – This is an employee who has a high excitement about the customer, this employee loves the customer and will always serve them with genuine love and commitment to duty.
A customer centric employee attends to your customers even when his/her mood is on the low, the charming smiles and inviting looks never change.
You see, a customer wants more than a product, they deserve a genuine and committed human relationship.
They want to feel loved and cherished, when an employee show love and concern about the customers, it improves bonding and product sales.
This is how loyal customer are won, it doesn’t happen by mistake, it’s a journey of sacrifice, commitment and affection.
Customer satisfaction should be a key priority, it’s your duty to ensure your customers are happy, there’s no two ways about that.
How to build a customer centric atmosphere in small business
This has to start with your hiring process as a small business, if you have a website, you should be able to specify how much a customer centric employee the organization is looking for.
This way, you will attract the right employees.
During interview, get the candidates to tell a story about employee customer relationship they’ve had in the past. Focus on their stories and communication, then vet their customer centricity.
They should cite from previous examples, how they felt when they were hurt by customers in the past, read their reactions and emotions at this point, there lies customer centric prowess.
Your questions should focus on core customer experience and how the candidate values it, are there exceptions to rendering exceptional service, the candidate must provide answers within this frame to further create a proper understanding.
3.) An employee that listens first – This may sound funny, but remains one of the most effective skills an employee should possess to maximize customer satisfaction in a small business.
For an excellent service delivery, an employee must listen to customers first when they come lamenting or complaining about their experience with the brand.
Only then can you have an insight of what possibly other customers are going through, thus initiate a suggestion to improve the brand perception.
Do not talk back when a customer is talking, by listening attentively you ascertain what the problem is, as well proffer solution to ameliorate the situation.
The customer sees you as an arch with the magic wand, do not let their spirit down by talking back at them, it can only lead to heated arguments and you will end up losing the customer I assure you.
Giving a listening ear to a customer will enable you understand an underlying loop hole in your brand, then make better strategies to ensure better delivery.
Do well to understand that you likely operate in a competitive market, heated arguments with a customer will only make you lose out, every customer wants to be treated right and this you must understand.
Again, irate customers are very dangerous, they must be handled with every care they deserve.
A single irate customer can tarnish your brand reputation if not managed well, any angry customer not well managed may have a tendency to feel so strongly that they’ve been overwhelmingly wronged that they’ll talk about the matter with anyone who cares to listen.
When these customers are angry, kindly work so hard to turn them to your advocates in the following ways
- Apologize on behalf of the small business or organization no matter who is at fault.
It sends relative calm to the customer, they will feel they have been factored and are cared for. Customer is always a king, don’t just take it for it, and treat them as one.
- Do not argue or engage in a heated argument
- Identify the real problem remote cause that breeds dissatisfaction to the customer
- Proffer a solution to it genuinely and avoid such re-occurrence
- Exceed the customer’s expectations with a great service delivery going forward
- Meet all your promises ahead of time, instead of promising and under-performing, promise less and perform beyond the customer’s expectations.
- Always remind the customers how special they are by maintaining the product quality that attracts them to your business in the first instance.
It doesn’t cost a fortune to offer an excellent customer service, you just have to be ready to play according to rules.
Aside the employees, you can as well render excellent service in the following categories:
A.) Your brand must be trendy – There has always been a note that the taste and choice of the consumer to a great extent determines how good a product sales.
It’s your responsibility as a small business owner to know when events and time eventually overrides customer choice of spending and perception.
It should be a point of duty to be trendy, the more your competitors are coming up with new inventions, you as well should be innovative and improvise order wise you will soon go out of business.
Your loyal customers will always want the best and trendy approach, endeavor not to fall short of such expectations, only then can you keep them for yourself without rivalry for as long as you want.
B.) Your price must be competitive – Your loyal customers will always patronize you at all cost, however pricing is one aspect of this relationship that must not go to the roof top.
Product shouldn’t lose its value by reviewing the price downward, it however should conform with market standard. Ensure quality assurance is at its best despite setting the price with your competitors in view.
C.) Create an effective feedback channel – This is the information or rather insights you get from your customers on how your brand is being perceived. Issues, information shared by consumers on how your product fairs.
This gives room for improvement and positive changes to better a product and brand perception over time.
Optimizing your customer feedback channel is the way to go, will invariably give you reasonable advice on how your business should operate for better positioning.
What your customers think about your product should be of utmost importance to you. Listen to these feedback and act on them, acting is not enough, corrective measures must apply with urgency.
Concluding Notes on Customer Service
Great customer service for small business customers starts with the brand, it should uphold the taste while sending a very strong signal on why customers should choose your brand out of overwhelming competitors out there.
Have questions on positioning your small business, want to gain loyal customers and keep them all for yourself with strategies order than what you have here, kindly drop your concern in the comment box below and I’ll do justice to that.
Raphael Orji A