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Customer Service Must Come First for Small Businesses

Customer Service Must Come First for Small Businesses

I really can’t stress enough how important it is to make good customer service a focus in your business strategy. It may seem silly to think that good customer service isn’t a priority for all businesses. But, I guarantee everyone out there has had at least one really, really bad customer service experience.

Hours spent on hold. Frustrating run-around. Automated website and social media responses that never get resolved. Aggressive or annoying staff. I could go on and on, but you all already know all the hair-pulling scenarios.

So how does customer service time and time again go by the way-side? It could be complacency. It could be laziness. Maybe they don’t have the staff or time. Whatever the reasons may be, you can’t afford to fall into the same snares.

When developing your business strategy, make good customer service a priority! Here’s why:

Good customer service drives repeat business

If a customer has a good experience with your company, there’s a great chance they will choose to return in the future. It’s really just as simple as that. A quality service/product, friendly or helpful interactions with sales or service team, timely resolution and even just an attempt made to rectify a bad experience all factor in to a customer’s decision-making process.

Good customer service creates positive word of mouth

Good service won’t only bring back repeat business. It opens the door to a whole new group of customers: their friends and family. A study of behaviour of the customers revealed that 92% of customers say they trust recommendations of friends and family, 70% said they trust opinions posted online such as Google and Facebook reviews. If your previously satisfied customers give you positive reviews in person or online, those close to them will take note.

 

3 Things You Can Do to Improve Customer Service TODAY

 

Good customer service isn’t some great, big, strategic undertaking that needs time to implement. All it takes to provide good customer service is the will and want to do it. Heck, if you want to improve your customer’s experience and the way they think of you, you can start right now.

  1. Don’t let the phone ring twice

Customers don’t like waiting. They hate being put on hold. They loathe dealing with machines. When a phone rings in your office, don’t let it ring twice. Make sure there is always a person ready to answer the phone. Whoever answers the phone can either answer the caller’s question, connect them with the person that can, or at the very least take a message. A message left with an actual person is always better than one left on a machine because the caller has the reassurance that their query was actually heard.

  1. Respond to social media comments, reviews, and messages… even the bad ones.

If you’ve provided a customer with a quality experience that has compelled them to leave a glowing social media or Google review, that’s the dream for a business owner! As a courteous follow-up, always make sure to take the time to thank them with a like or a comment. If someone comments with a question on a post or direct message, don’t leave them hanging. Respond in as timely a fashion as possible to help answer their questions or concerns. Not only is this helpful for the person who commented, it shows everyone else who sees it that you take the time to actually interact and engage with your audience.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to love you and sometimes these comments and messages may be nasty or negative. You can’t leave them hanging either. Sometimes people just want to vent and even the best efforts to resolve the issue will be ignored, but always at least make an effort to rectify the situation. Whether a resolution is actually met or not, your efforts will also likely be noticed by others.

  1. Ask your customers to leave a review

Online reviews are a powerful reputation builder and positive reinforcement for potential customers (like I said, 70% trust online reviews). If you have email addresses and/or phone numbers from previous customers, follow-up their purchase or service completion with a request for a review. I recommend opting for an automated campaign using Constant Contact or other email tools over a phone call (it’s a little less intrusive in my book). You can encourage customers to leave reviews on Google, Facebook, your website, or wherever your priority lies.

Pair requests for online reviews you’ll promote new positive reviews and address negative reviews all in a single stroke. This is a simple way to immediately build up your library of reviews and give potential customers more to chew on.

 

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