by Chris Joseph, studioD | Small Business
As a small business owner, you work hard to attract new customers, so you don’t want to have your efforts wasted or lost because of poor customer service. Take the time to evaluate your customer service procedures to see if there are areas that could stand improvement. A few free tips can help you.
While you want to project yourself as a competent professional in your field, don’t be so professional that you come across as rude or unapproachable. Take the time to get to know your customers by asking about their work or families. This can help you build better rapport with your customers that can lead to a long-term relationship.
If you have customers who are business owners like yourself, look for opportunities to send business their way. For example, if one of your customers is a plumber and another customer complains about a leaky faucet in her home, refer her to the plumber. By doing so, you’ve actually provided additional service to two customers. Be sure to collect business cards from your customers so that you can offer their contact information to others.
Focus on Following Through
Not meeting deadlines is a sure way to lose customers quickly. If you give a customer a target date to fill an order or repair equipment, be sure you can have the work completed by that date, or sooner if possible. If you can’t make the deadline (which should be a rare occurrence) contact the customer promptly and explain the situation.
Ask for Feedback
Customers won’t always volunteer to tell you what’s wrong, so you may have to ask. Provide the opportunity for them to offer feedback by having them fill out a survey covering areas such as pricing and quality of service. This can help you identify and address areas that need improvement before it’s too late. It also lets the customer know that you care.
Be accessible to your customers, even after normal business hours. Provide your customers with your business card that has your cell phone number in case they need to reach you promptly. If your business has a website, include a frequently-asked-questions section that answers common issues. Also provide an email address for customers who may wish to contact you electronically.