How Small Businesses Can Offer Great Customer Service


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In honor of National Small Busi­ness Week, we’d like to offer some tips for all of you hard-working small busi­ness own­ers out there. Small busi­nesses face many chal­lenges when com­pet­ing against larger com­pa­nies, but one huge advan­tage small busi­nesses have is their abil­ity to offer per­sonal, thor­ough cus­tomer ser­vice. Give your small busi­ness an edge by fol­low­ing the below tips so that you can offer even bet­ter cus­tomer ser­vice to all of your loyal cus­tomers and clients.

When your cus­tomers call you, they should reach a live person

As a small busi­ness owner, giv­ing your cus­tomers the abil­ity to reach a live per­son when they dial your num­ber is some­thing that large com­pa­nies just can’t match. Instead of nav­i­gat­ing through an inter­ac­tive voice response sys­tem or through numer­ous call cen­ter employ­ees, your cus­tomers will love the fact that you’ll be there to answer the phone and give them imme­di­ate answers. When you’re out of the office, use a call for­ward­ing sys­tem so that their calls will still reach you. You can also hire an answer­ing ser­vice, or have staff avail­able to take calls. The key is to have a live per­son avail­able when peo­ple call dur­ing busi­ness hours.

Keep your promises

Peo­ple enjoy work­ing with small busi­nesses because it feels more per­sonal and trust­wor­thy. A car­di­nal rule of small busi­nesses is to keep your promises. Often, when peo­ple shop or do busi­ness with large com­pa­nies, promises become more com­pli­cated; requests get shuf­fled around the cor­po­rate hier­ar­chy, and pretty soon, that “promise” becomes some­thing that may not align with com­pany pol­icy. How­ever, as a small busi­ness owner, your word is your per­sonal guar­an­tee to your cus­tomers. If you say you’ll make a deliv­ery on a cer­tain day, let a dis­count pro­mo­tion last longer, or promise to meet a dead­line – make sure you do it.

Deal with cus­tomer com­plaints – right away

If some­thing goes wrong dur­ing a pur­chase or trans­ac­tion, cus­tomers want reas­sur­ance that they can call you, the small busi­ness, and get their prob­lem resolved quickly. Cus­tomers will often choose small busi­nesses over larger com­pa­nies because they per­ceive they’ll be treated bet­ter and that their issues will get resolved faster. Don’t let your cus­tomers feel they were mis­led to think this: address their con­cerns imme­di­ately. In addi­tion to fix­ing the prob­lem, offer them some sort of reward for their incon­ve­nience – a dis­count off of their next ser­vice or a free prod­uct, for exam­ple. When some­thing goes wrong, a small busi­ness has the agility to fix it faster, and you don’t have the cor­po­rate red tape to nav­i­gate if you want to offer your cus­tomers a dis­count for hav­ing to deal with the problem.

Train your staff to treat each cus­tomer with the spe­cial small busi­ness touch

As a small busi­ness owner, you can only do so much. Most likely, you’ll have employ­ees help­ing out and work­ing with cus­tomers. Make sure you retain your small busi­ness edge by train­ing your staff to treat cus­tomers well. Coach your staff to offer per­son­al­ized ser­vice, lis­ten care­fully to customer’s requests and com­plaints, and to go the extra mile when help­ing cus­tomers. How your employ­ees treat your cus­tomers reflects your brand and busi­ness, so make sure they under­stand the impor­tance of great cus­tomer service.

Make mean­ing­ful connections

In a world where large com­pa­nies dom­i­nate, and where per­sonal con­nec­tions are lost in online inter­ac­tions, the abil­ity to make mean­ing­ful, per­sonal con­nec­tions with your cus­tomers will really stand out. Offer­ing a con­nec­tion and rela­tion­ship to your cus­tomers is some­thing that large com­pa­nies just can’t match, so make sure you take advan­tage of this edge. Give cus­tomers a per­sonal phone call to check in with them about their recent pur­chase. Send them a post­card on their birth­day with a hand­writ­ten note. Get to know them by first name, and know what their pref­er­ences are. Lis­ten – really lis­ten – when they talk to you. Let them know, on a fre­quent basis, how much you appre­ci­ate their business.

Tak­ing these extra, per­sonal steps will go a long way in build­ing your rep­u­ta­tion as a small-business owner. It doesn’t mat­ter how hyper-connected peo­ple become – they still appre­ci­ate good, old-fashioned cus­tomer ser­vice, and as a small busi­ness owner, you have the abil­ity to give cus­tomers the per­sonal atten­tion that they deserve.

Jodi Beuder, Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence Advo­cate at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, believes cus­tomer ser­vice exists not just out­side the com­pany, but inside, too.. “Hav­ing excel­lent cus­tomer ser­vice skills and knowl­edge are para­mount to cre­at­ing strong work­ing rela­tion­ships, whether you are in an office or out in the field.” With over 17 years in Mar­ket­ing Exec­u­tive roles, Jodi has ded­i­cated her career to assist­ing com­pa­nies grow their brand pres­ence and sales, and most impor­tantly, their cus­tomer reten­tion and satisfaction.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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