April 22, 2016
The fact of the matter is, offering satisfactory customer service is not hard, and quality customer service equals subsequent success.

It is often said that small gestures make a big difference, and the same is true regarding customer service. Some small business owners, unfortunately, view customer service as a chore, and alienate the same people who have allowed them to stay in business with their patronage. It is always worth keeping your clientele happy with quality customer service, which is just as important as your product and price. In fact, by 2020, according to Walker Information, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

The fact of the matter is, offering satisfactory customer service is not hard, and quality customer service equals subsequent success. To ensure your customers are content and coming back for more, and recommend you to others, follow these three easy customer service tips that will help sustain your business:

No. 1: Ensure your website is well-designed. When it comes to customer service in the digital age, your website is your most important tool. It is usually the first place a customer will look for your return policy, shipping information, FAQ section and, of course, your location, business hours and contact information. Without these essential elements, your customer service might be deemed subpar, and even non-existent. It is imperative to remain accessible, and a well-thought-out website ensures accessibility.

No. 2: Always respond politely and promptly. Our everything-at-your-fingertips society has unfortunately created a culture of impatience. Many people, including a substantial segment of your customers, do not like to wait, and if they have to wait for a response from an email or phone call, they will become unhappy, which is why a timely response is crucial to keeping customers satisfied.

When responding to a complaint, always be polite, professional and understanding, and try to anticipate your customer’s needs. Your customers want solutions to their problems, not excuses, and want to be heard. Listen with an open mind, encourage feedback and questions on how to rectify a problem and be proactive in coming up with a solution. You don’t have to change your entire business model to satisfy one customer, but you do have to treat them with respect if you want to keep their business.

No. 3: Have a live person available. One of the biggest advantages small businesses have over large corporations regarding customer service is the ability to offer more personalized service, which is achieved by customers being able to talk to a live person. Customers always love it when they reach a live person right away without having to navigate a maze of voice response systems and/or prompts to dial 1, for example, for …, and on and on. However, if you do employ a live person to field complaints or questions, make sure they have a thorough knowledge of your products and services and can answer any questions thrown at them. Nothing will frustrate your customers more than a representative who answers questions with “I don’t know” or “I will have to ask someone else.”  

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