Ten golden customer service rules for small businesses
Posted: Thu 18th Apr 2013
If you're looking for ways to stand out from competitors, it's well worth focusing on customer service as a differentiator. But how do you ensure yours has the wow factor? Katherine Evans, PR and marketing executive at 08Direct, offers her ten golden rules of customer service.
How important is customer service to the success of your business? It's vital, writes Katherine (left). It's been shown over and over that a company's growth and success is directly connected to the quality of their customer service and support. Basically, if your service is bad, your business will suffer. It might seem simple, but there are many easy mistakes that can put a customer off. Here are my golden rules to help you get your customer service right, every time.
1. Respond quickly
When a customer emails you, make sure you respond within a business day. If you leave them waiting any longer, they're likely to go elsewhere and ALWAYS respond in a succinct and professional manner.
2. Don't leave customers unsatisfied
When a customer contacts you, make sure you deal with their problem or query as quickly as possible. Happy customers mean they'll keep coming back to you and are more likely to pass your company name on to friends and family.
3. Experience is more important than price
If you treat your customers well and ensure that they're dealt with professionally and efficiently, it's likely that they'd pay more for a service than they would if they received bad service elsewhere.
"Customer service is so important to business success. We build good relationships with customers and now have people approaching us on their recommendation."
Adam Brett, senior account manager, 08Direct
The easier it is for the customer to speak to the person or department they want to, the more likely they'll be to want to keep their business with you and continue contacting you in future and make sure the right telephone numbers are easily found on your website.
5. Be nice!
It may sound simple, but if you treat your customers nicely, they will respond nicely, making for a pleasant and loyal relationship between the two.
6. Know what you're talking about
Make sure that all of your staff are trained and up-to-date with your company's business and products. If a customer rings with a problem, whoever answers the phone needs be able to help them.
"An unsatisfied customer is more likely to tell friends about bad customer service than a satisfied customer is to spread word about a good experience."
7. Listen to feedback
If you ever receive feedback from your customers, especially if you receive a complaint, you should make a note of them and use them to improve!
8. Be online
If your company not only has an excellent call system but it is online through social networking sites, you open up your customers' possibilities in how they can contact you, making them more likely to.
9. The customer is always right
An unsatisfied customer is more likely to tell their friends and family about a bad customer service experience than a satisfied customer is to spread word about a good experience.
10. Better service saves money
The happier your employees are means the happier your customers will be. Your employees are the front line of your business so the happier they are and the better trained there are means you are more likely to retain your existing customers and attract new ones. Katherine Evans is PR and marketing executive for 08Direct, one of the UK's leading providers of non-geographic numbers and call management solutions. 08 Direct works with thousands of businesses across the UK helping them to provide a nationwide presence and first-rate customer service.
Meet Ben - Enterprise Nation's customer service whiz
If you're a member of the Enterprise Nation Club, you can meet Ben (left) and Simon, our website editor, at our first Coffee Club in London next Wednesday, 24th April. The EN Club offers more than Â£500 of business benefits, discounted classes and guides, networking opportunities and more - for just Â£20 a year. Join the Club!
Photo credits: Cory Doctorow (main),Â Juliana Coutinho (smiling fingers), Daquella Manera (angry customer poster) via Compfight cc