A Few Customer Service Tips for Small Businesses

December 13, 2012

CustomerCustomers are an intricate part of any business. When creating your plan, it should include customer service goals. Here are a few tips:

1) Establish rapport. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is the most commonly overlooked aspect of customer service today. Too often, customers feel anonymous when conducting transactions with businesses. Everyone wants to feel valued. Whenever you or your staff have dealings with clients, make sure that pleasantries are exchanged. A simple, “how are you today?” can make a world of difference in a client’s experience with your company. This means eye contact if the transaction is in person, a smile or an upbeat voice, and perhaps a comment about what the customer is buying from you. If a person is purchasing birthday candles and children’s party hats, for example, asking how old their child is or commenting that your niece picked out the same party hats can be all it takes to bring a customer back into your store. If you recognize the person, mention a tidbit from your previous conversation, if you can remember it. “I hope your son is feeling better, Mrs. Smith. Did he get over that nasty cold?” It may seem trite, but try it and see if it doesn’t work.

2) Make personal phone calls whenever possible. This can be cumbersome, but the rewards are well worth it. Especially if you have a service-type business, personal phone calls can be a gold-mine of opportunity for you. For instance, my mechanic, Terry, owns two shops. He is a very busy man, supervising many full-time employees, doing all his own books, payroll, etc. Whenever possible, he answers the phone himself, and he makes personal follow-up calls to clients. A few days after I had my brakes done, he called me and asked how I felt about the quality of his work. He said he just wanted to make sure I was happy. I was so overwhelmed by his caring attitude that I kept coming back to see him and recommended his shop to countless friends. That was ten years ago, and I still see him for all my car repairs. Terry doesn’t spend one cent on advertising. He doesn’t need to, as all his customers come to him on referrals.

3) Distribute a newsletter. A newsletter is a wonderful way to stay in touch with clientele. It keeps your company name fresh in people’s minds, provides a forum for you to announce specials, distribute coupons, and give helpful advice to people who need your services. Do you own a grocery store? Include recipes using items you sell. Do you run a beauty salon? Include make-up dos and don’ts with suggestions for different products you carry. Are you a massage therapist? Include a list of warning signs for muscle fatigue and suggest your new herbal heated body wrap. Another good component for a newsletter is an “advice column.” Select one or two commonly asked questions that pertain to your services and provide solid answers about what your business can do to solve people’s problems.

Read more… essortment


Quote of the day…

December 12, 2012

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’

-Ben Franklin

business-plan


LDP wine of the week- Theuniskraal Rosé 2011.

December 11, 2012

This week’s LDP wine of the week is the Theuniskraal Rosé 2011.

Blush pink in colour this blend of Shiraz, Muscat Ottonel and Colombard has resulted in a semi-sweet rosé with delicate peachy flavours and floral undertones, underpinned with a hint of spice.

Excellent on its own or served with salads, fish, poultry, pork and pasta dishes.

Read more… capelegendsTheuniskraal


A Few Tips to Build Your Small Business

December 6, 2012

businessThere are many steps involved in building your business, but there are some key steps that shouldn’t be neglected. Here are a few building your business tips:

Human Resources

Crafting effective job descriptions. Having job descriptions for each of your positions is a must. However, they must be thorough and accurate and fit exactly the position. This necessitates that you develop the job descriptions for the positions you have in your business. Finally, the best and most accurate job description is useless if it is not used as an effective tool.

Build a spectacular team without damaging your ego. People who become an entrepreneur usually have an ego that can be hard to accept. However, if this were not so, there would be very few entrepreneurial ventures. Sooner or later the entrepreneur realizes that he can’t do it all if his venture is to be successful. Building a good team requires the entrepreneur to assess the exact need and then hire for that need. After clearly communicating the function and expectation of each member of the team he must then allow the team to function with minimum interference.

Self-development

Measure your entrepreneurial instinct. Do you really want to start your own business? Will you be happier and more satisfied working for yourself or working for someone else? Authors present a quiz that is based on the Five Factor Model of Personality presented by Paul Costa Jr. and Robert McCrae. An explanation of the five factors is presented.

Ways employers screw up hiring. Hiring practices and procedures must be made current to match today’s business model and those qualified job-seekers. Businesses must examine their interviewing and hiring procedures and ascertain whether or not they match the requirements of the position they are seeking to fill. Unfortunately, many resumes and interviews do not. There are a number of “bad” hiring practices listed which can be used to begin evaluating your hiring procedures.

Resource Management

The untapped talent that can juice the economy. The government has seized upon the the fact that most job growth originates with small businesses. Their answer to energizing job growth is to encourage the increase in entrepreneurship. Again they fail to recognize the difference between entrepreneurship and other small businesses. Entrepreneurship requires the development of an idea and then the establishment of a small business to market that idea. While this may result in more long-term job growth, it does not fulfill the need for immediate job growth. Far more can be gained from encouraging skilled professionals to develop more productive businesses.

Read more… smallbiztrends


Quote of the day…

December 5, 2012

‘If you can, be first. If you can’t be first, create a new category in which you can be first.’

-Al Ries and Jack Trout

business-handshake


LDP wine of the week- Rib Shack Red

December 4, 2012

This week’s LDP wine of the week is the Rib Shack Red.

This wine goes really well with a braai and especially with red meat. A delightfully well balanced wine, perfect with some company.

Read more… dgb.co.zaRib Shack Red