The first step in establishing superior customer service in a small business is simply understanding the meaning of the word “consistency”. It’s a waste of effort to establish a policy if you are willing to accept anything less than great customer service 100% of the time. This takes commitment and buy-in from everyone in your organization regardless of their job title. So, the obvious first step involves setting a policy, providing continual employee training, careful monitoring, and living it every day.
How’s your smile? Smiles are infectious. Show one to a customer and you’ll nearly always get one in return. Be upbeat, the customers are there to give you money. Leave your baggage at home. Your are trying to develop a relationship with the customer and give them a reason to return. Consider the senses; music, aroma, lighting, temperature, and décor. Customers quickly recognize and respond to a business where the employees enjoy their work and seem to be having fun. Make eye contact and immediately acknowledge every shopper as they come through the front door and sincerely thank them when they exit your store.
What do you do when a customer asks for some product or service you don’t provide? Are you willing to special order merchandise or consider stocking it in the future? What if your competition has it? The ultimate customer service gesture is referring a client to a competitor to solve their needs. Don’t be threatened, customers appreciate the effort and will be back. Always have a seasoned employee answer the phone. Understand that a telephone conversation is an experience that involves only one of the five senses. The client on the other end of the line can’t see your clean, well stocked store or your sharp, enthusiastic employees that are eager to assist the customer. There is just a voice on the phone. Be sure that voice is pleasant and that employee is helpful and knowledgeable. Always asked your employees to smile while they are on the phone and imagine they are talking to their grandmother.
A surefire way to build a client relationship is to know them by name. Does your staff make an effort in this regard?
When you are providing your customers with products or services do things right the first time. Have quality control procedures in place and stringently enforce them. Don’t wait for your customer to find the flaws and have to complain. And if you make a mistake, admit it and offer ways to make it up to the customer.
One final step in providing great customer service deals with how you evaluate your client interactions in your employee training sessions. Far too often business owners focus solely on talking about customer complaints. This is necessary and valuable, but don’t stop there. Customer compliments are what reinforce and validate the hard work and dedication your employees show every day in dealing with your customers. Make the compliments a BIG DEAL and reward customer service excellence.

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