If you are striving to compete or even become the market leader, these customer service tips will help you make the necessary improvements.
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 experience.
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
The 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 feedback.
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, she is an accomplished speaker and trainer on Customer Satisfaction and Retention.