A Few Customer Service Tips for Small Businesses

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

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