How good customer service can become great
While many business have good customer service, sadly only a few have great customer service. Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business, and providing it to your customers, determines whether you will stay in business, for the long term. It is important to keep in mind that you can offer promotions and slash prices, to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won't be profitable for long. Great customer service is all about bringing customers back, and about sending them away happy. Remember that you want your customers happy enough to pass positive feedback, about your business along to others, who may then try the product or service you offer for themselves, and in their turn become repeat customers. The essence of great customer service is forming a relationship with each individual customer that keeps them coming back again and again. Here are some ideas on how good customer service can become great-
- Listen to your customers-Great customer service begins by really listening to your customers. This means going beyond the sales pitch and understanding what your customer really needs. You need to let your customer talk, and show him that you are listening by making the appropriate responses, such as suggesting how to solve the problem. When your customer really feels that he has been listened to, he will return to your business again, and will tell others about the great customer service he experienced.
- Answer your phone promptly-Nothing is more frustrating, for a customer, then calling a business over and over again, and not receiving a response. For really great customer service, have call forwarding, an answering machine, or hire staff who just answers the phone. You need to focus on having someone who is available to pick up the phone when someone calls your business. If you must take a message, set a goal to return your customers calls within a reasonable amount of time.
- Never make a promise you are not willing to keep-You must be willing to keep your promises, if you are going to provide great customer service. Remember that reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. Keep in mind that the same rule applies to all aspects of doing business such as: client appointments, deadlines, etc. You need to think before you give any promise, because nothing annoys customers more than a broken one.
- Always be training your staff, to be helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable, no matter the situation-Training your staff is key to providing great customer service. You will either need to do it yourself, or hire someone to train them. You should talk to them about great customer service and what it is (and isn't), on a regular basis. Most importantly, you need to give every member of your staff enough information and power, to make those small customer-pleasing decisions, so he never has to say, "I don't know, but so-and-so will be back at..." In addition, you should train your staff how to deal with complaints. Many times employees are unaware of how to deal with complaints, so they choose to ignore them and further alienate their customer. If your employees are aware of how to deal with complaints, (having a set procedure is a must), they are able to move forward on their own to provide great customer service.
- Always be helpful, even if there's no immediate profit in it-Really great customer service, means going beyond just making money. Remember that if you can be helpful to just one customer, in an extraordinary way, he or she will spread the word, far and wide. This alone good become the best marketing effort for your small business, in the long run.
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