Small Business Customer Service Advice
How to Best Serve Your Customers-Ten Top Tips Part 1
Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures
This is part one of a two part article. Successful business owners understand that everything relies on good customer relations. Herewith, the top ten tips to help you provide for your customers needs and keep them loyal to you.
Do these ten things well and you'll rarely lose a customer.
#1 Make It Personal
Always apply a personal touch to customer service.
Because technology has automated so many aspects of our business lives there's a very real danger of us losing the ability and indeed the will to keep things personal.
When it comes to customer service, there's nothing like the personal touch for keeping connected to your clients.
Always do your best to answer your phone inside a maximum of a few rings. Be sure to give the caller your name and show a genuine interest in them. No matter how busy you are, don't convey that you don't have time to talk or are pressured to be elsewhere.
Every single one of your customers needs to feel special. If you can convey the fact that you are listening to them and understanding their needs you will help to generate this feeling.
If you use a voicemail message when you are unable to answer calls, make sure your message is clear. Always state the date in your message: "Hello, it's Friday the 23rd..." Doing this lets your caller know you regularly check your voicemail and that their message will be heard.
If you also use a mobile or cellphone, use call forwarding services to send calls direct to where you are.
#2 Understand that the Customer is King
Customers are not minions in your kingdom. In fact, your business is not designed to be your kingdom at all.
Don't laud it over your customers by playing the role of Mr or Ms Big Boss. Remember that it is they who take priority, not you. It is the customers' needs and not your own that come top of the list. Remember the old adage that the customer is always right? It's worth writing on your wall so you never forget it.
#3 Exceed Customers' Expectations
If you are promising to deliver products or services within a specified timeframe and are failing to do so, you give the impression of being all talk and no action. Adopt the opposite attitude; don't ever promise anything you do not know for sure you can supply. It is far better to surprise the customer by delivering products early or completing a job faster than anticipated than to let them down with false guarantees.
#4 Ask, Don't Presume
Make asking "Is it all right to...?" part of your customer service routine. You should always ask for the customer's consent before:
- calling them by their first name
- sending them email updates
- disclosing their details to another party
Six More Keys to Customer Service Greatness
This article is getting a bit long, and we're sensitive to your time being important. We will cover the remaining six customer service tips in Part 2 of this two-part article.
Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."
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