To say that good customer service is vital to the success of a small business would be an understatement. Thanks to new technology and the prominence of search engines, customers who are even mildly dissatisfied with the service you provide will have trouble taking their business elsewhere. As such, customer service should be among the foremost priorities of every small business owner. In the interest of helping your team members step up their customer service game, educate them on the importance of avoiding the following blunders.
As a consumer, few things are more frustrating than waiting on responses from businesses. The longer a business takes to respond to a query or concern, the less customers feel their needs matter. Regardless of how specialized the products or services you offer are, odds are savvy consumers will be able to find a competitor that provides timely responses to their enquiries. As such, prompt responsiveness should be among your most important priorities when it comes to customer service.
Provided a query comes through during normal business hours, make a point of responding before the end of the workday. Ideally, responses to customer queries should be offered within one to three hours. The timelier your responses, the more important customers will feel. If they believe that their concerns matter to you, many consumers are likely to forgive small mistakes and grace you with their business in the future.
Indifferent and/or Discourteous Tones
When dealing with customers, disgruntled or otherwise, it is imperative that you and your team members adopt an attitude of courtesy and professionalism. After all, if a customer is already displeased with your business, antagonizing them is only going to make the situation worse. Conversely, you can effectively deescalate dicey customer service situations by being as polite, empathetic and obliging as possible. As anyone who’s worked in customer care can attest, it’s much harder to stay angry at someone who radiates kindness than someone who responds to anger with more anger.
Further complicating matters is the fact that many people come off as indifferent and/or discourteous without even meaning to. To help nip this problem in the bud, encourage your team members to remain mindful of their tone and cadence when dealing directly with customers. Whether you’re speaking with customers in person, over the phone or via online chat, take care to choose your words carefully and think before you vocalize your thoughts. While it’s true that some people are absolutely impossible to please, persistent politeness should be able to comfortably get you through the vast majority of customer interactions.
Actively Escalating Bad Situations
In any line of work, you’re sure to find that some people are easier to please than others. Although the majority of customers you deal with are unlikely to draw your ire, some will actively seek to make you as angry as they are. Even if every conceivable attempt is made to placate them, some people will remain perpetually dissatisfied with the service they receive.
When faced with situations like these, it’s best to avoid escalating things. Just because a customer is unconsolably irate doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Simply apologize for any inconvenience these individuals suffered and maintain a polite attitude, regardless of how much these individuals attempt to draw you into an argument.
Refusing to Take Advantage of Dedicated Training Service
If you and your team members are sorely lacking when it comes to customer service, you’d do well to enlist the aid of a dedicated training service. Customer service oriented training programs can provide you with a bevy of practical knowledge and help you step up your consumer care game in a timely manner.
Good customer service should be high atop the priority list of every small business owner. In the absence of courteous, responsive and attentive customer service, you’re likely to have trouble attracting repeat business. Furthermore, if your enterprise develops a reputation for treating customers poorly, you’re liable to find yourself on the receiving end of negative word-of-mouth, which can do lasting damage to your professional reputation. Fortunately, providing your patrons with first-rate customer service isn’t nearly as daunting as some businesses make it look. In the quest to enhance your business’s customer service experience, take care to avoid the mistakes discussed above.