There are so many complexities that go into running a small business, and it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in responsibilities. It’s imperative that you’re very mindful of the quality of customer service you’re providing because this can ultimately determine whether you’re creating a one-time customer or a loyal devotee. In the small business world, your success depends on keeping people coming back for what you have to offer, and they won’t do that if they feel as though they’d receive better service elsewhere. Through effective management and useful policies, you can create a service relationship that your customers will crave.
1. Get Personal
A large business environment will handle customer service issues very differently, so attempting to use the same model in your small business won’t be as effective. In a small business, you’re dealing with a smaller number of customers, which will allow you to provide a more personalized experience. Encourage your employees to take in interest in who your customers are as people. Remembering that Jeff is a teacher and asking him about his students or that Linda is a doctor looking to open her own practice shows that you pay attention. This will make your customers feel valued for who they are.
2. Recognize Their Needs
It’s not as complicated to keep track of your regulars as it would be in a larger environment. You have the ability to stay in touch with your frequent customer’s attitudes and preferences, and you can use that information to create an environment tailored to their needs. The way you envisioned your business may not be ideal for the individuals who frequent it, so being willing to adapt to the needs of your customer base will cause them to regard you as innovative and efficient.
3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is an excellent way to show appreciation. Individuals who receive excellent service will share their experience with their friends, who may then become customers based on these anecdotes. The customers who are the most loyal to you will feel rewarded by your loyalty to them, and in some cases, this may mean having to bend some rules or grant some extra favors for them. Showing your star customers that you recognize them as star customers will build a lifelong relationship.
4. Thank Them Genuinely
It isn’t as cliché as it may sound to thank them for their patronage, though it isn’t as simple as just that. Holding loyalty events and deals for your most valued customers offers them a bonus that they may not receive by frequenting larger businesses. It will also boost your reputation within the community and make others want to see what all the fuss is about.
5. Build a Friendly Environment
Talk to your staff about dealing with difficult customers. You may deal with a customer who is having an off day, but would otherwise be the most pleasant customer to have around. Your staff need to maintain a professional and friendly attitude, even with hostile customers, to make sure your customers leave just a little bit happier than when they came in.
6. Recognize Outstanding Customer Service
You’ll have a variety of talents distributed among your staff, and some of them may be more naturally gifted at customer service than others. You’ll want these employees to deal with the majority of customer interaction. Recognize their competency in this area, and reward it. This will encourage your best employees to keep up the good work, and encourage the employees who are lacking in this arena to step up the pace.