Customer service is the one strong advantage that small
businesses have over large corporations. Small businesses can
form stronger customer relationships that will directly result
in higher profits and revenues.
Small business owners and managers can quickly connect with
the customer in a personal way, respond to service issues, and
quickly work in the best interest of the customer at all levels.
These five simple steps that the successful small businesses use
are essential to instilling an excellent customer service
1. Make the Right Hiring Decision
Hire the smile train the skill.
Making sure that you hire friendly people is the first important
step that you must consider when hiring the team that will be
interacting directly with customers. For any public facing
position, anyone who's interacting with a customer face-to-face
or over the phone, be sure that that person is somebody who will
best represent your company. After all, this person is going to
be the face of your company to anyone they interact with.
2. The Culture of Your Company Must Be Customer Focused
culture of your company at all levels from the top-down must be
focused on customer at all times. By having a strong customer
centric culture ingrained into everyone within your company,
your customers and your team will know that the customer is a
true part of your business.
3. Set Minimum Service Skills Expectations
Everyone within your
business needs to know what the clear specific expectations are
when it comes to interacting with customers. Without having
defined expectations, everything is left to chance. Minimum
service expectations need to be set regarding everything from
how the phone is answered, how service related issues are
managed, how the last customer impression is formed, handling
exceptions to the rule, to follow-up and gathering customer
4. Ongoing Customer Service Training
Continual training is far
more effective than a once a year training session for your
team. Regular training reinforces how important customer service
is, each and every day. By emphasizing customer focus in every team
meeting and every process review, the customer is always held
forth as the most important person in your business.
5. Put Your Money Where Their Service Is
Build a certain part of
the performance evaluation around the level of customer service
delivered. When team members understand that a percentage of
their compensation comes directly from quality of customer
service they display on a regular basis, the members committed
to excellent service will stand out and be recognized for it.
Those who don't will feel it in their wallet and hopefully step
up or step out.
Bonus step - Have a plan in place and involve your team
members in the customer experience. By getting your staff to be
part of the process and solution, the ownership of the customer
experience awakens the entrepreneurial spirit within them.
About the Author
Kristina Evey is improving the way companies connect with
their customers and is an
accomplished speaker and trainer on Customer Satisfaction and