How to Provide Excellent Customer Service

by Lauren Schneidewind on December 11, 2016

According to a McKinsey report, 70% of a buying experience is how the customer feels they are being treated. This statistic is startling, but may encourage you to focus on standing out with excellent customer service that influences a buyer’s opinion.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs have one advantage – they are in a position to provide more personalized customer service. How can you make sure you are exceeding customer expectations? Here are six ideas for action:

#1: Know your product or service

Top notch customer service requires not only a friendly attitude towards the potential or existing buyer but also detailed knowledge and, if possible, practical experience related to the products and services offered by the company.

Statistics show that the most common questions customers ask are specific things about a product or service. Therefore, it would be embarrassing if you fail to give them accurate and helpful answers. Not to mention you’d likely lose the sale.

#2: Know your customers

Living in a digital era makes customers more educated and better informed than ever. They read testimonials and customer complaints. You will want to identify their specific needs and do everything possible to meet those needs.

If you understand what your customers want, then you will be able to build a great relationship with them. As a result, the loyalty to your brand will increase, and your business will grow.

#3: Take care of your staff

Hiring great employees is a good first step, but it is not enough for excellent customer service. As part of your company’s effective internal communication, you can also:

  • Provide your staff with adequate training and useful tools to enable them to do their job in the best way possible.
  • Set performance standards and hold the entire staff to the same standards.
  • Apply effective coaching strategies such as offering praise to encourage achievements.
  • Explain to your people how their actions influence business.
  • If an employee fails to meet customer expectations, discuss the issue in a professional manner. Remind them why it is important to maintain the company standard, and help them create a plan to improve their performance.

#4: Pay attention to your communication with clients

The focus of external communication is on promoting the company to the public and sharing information with your audience. The goal is the same as in marketing and sales - to increase revenue. Here are smart tips about how to achieve better communication:

  • Contact stakeholders and partners from time to time, but not only when you need something. Sometimes do it just to say thanks or hello.
  • If you hear that something good has happened to your contact, send them a note, flowers or a delicacy basket. Be equally attentive and sensitive when something bad happens to your contacts.
  • Listen carefully, don’t interrupt and stay positive in a conversation.
  • Don’t forget that your personal life and reputation matter. So, be careful what you post on social media, don’t lie, and take care of your image which is as important as your company’s image.
  • In case you make a professional mistake, it is best to admit fault and do your best to fix it.

#5: Gather feedback

Don’t hesitate to ask your customers their opinion. You can ask about your business, products, services, shipping and payment terms and processes, and how they find working with you among other things. To do that, you can use surveys, feedback forms, and questionnaires.

Small business owners can also directly ask their customers for feedback. The information gathered is extremely valuable because it shows the current level of customer service at your company. If you listen to your customers, you can identify those areas that need improvement.

When you regularly adjust your business to the expectations of those who buy from you, you will become known as someone who’s providing excellent service.

#6: It all begins with you!

As we all know, the most inspiring leadership is by example. After all, what is leadership, if not influence? Remember, you are in a position to motivate your employees by showing them how you treat customers, how you resolve conflicts and your overall behavior in the office.

If there’s one area in which small companies and entrepreneurs can compete with the big business players, it is offering competent customer service that has a little extra – a personal touch.

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