When interacting with small business owners, quite naturally customer service becomes the topic of discussion.
I’m often asked, “Errol, should I go to all the trouble of developing a customer service strategy?” My response is, “Yes you should! If you expect to retain your present customers, thereby growing your business through retention and referrals, then developing a customer service strategy is a smart step to take.”
Here are three tips that will benefit every small business owner who wants to develop a customer service strategy.
1. Act Like You’re Already There
Most small business owners operate with the hopes of one day being a large company. But it is imperative to go ahead and act like a large business by developing customer service strategies that incentivize your customers to remain loyal to your brand.
Decide how you will interact with your customer.
What will you do when your customer calls? When your customer leaves a voice mail, how long will you take before returning that call? How will you determine what’s important to your customer in regards to your product or service? When you have a long-term project, how often will you provide updates? When your customer complains about your product or service, what will you do next?
Now I hear some small business owners saying, “Errol, I don’t have time for that! I’m too busy running my business!” However, it’s important to spend time working on your business which means answering those questions! Taking the time to do so will certainly lead to establishing operational standards which should transfer into a great customer experience.
2. Examine Your Processes
Most large organizations understand the need for process documentation, process analysis and process improvement projects. Additionally, small business should regularly take a look at “how they do what they do.”
Start by identifying your core processes.
For example, customer requests for your product or service, order fulfillment, product delivery, and customer invoicing. What are the current steps for each of your core processes? What exactly does the customer encounter when interacting with your company?
Asking these questions helps to identify exactly what is taking place on a daily basis. Moreover, it will give you more control of your small business, which can be very useful during times of fast business growth. Search for improvement opportunities and make the necessary adjustments to insure that your purchasing customer receives a great customer experience.
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