These days commercial markets are dominated by a handful of big businesses that offer the same goods and services at every outlet. This is true for both online stores and traditional brick and mortar outlets. Successful small businesses have to develop strategies that give them an advantage against the big guys. There are several ways that your small business can meet and exceed the standard set by the larger competitors in your industry and from my own personal experience it should start with providing exceptional customer service
Existing Customer Service Structures and How They Can Be Improved
Each business has their own configuration of existing structures for customer service and personal support. These are a few common service and support structures and some of the problems that are frequently present within them:
- General customer interactions: Greeting customers, helping them access goods and services, and sales procedures are some of the general customer interactions that virtually all businesses engage in. These face to face interactions are what customers tend to remember; they will associate your business with these interactions so it is important to make them positive. Inadequate employee training, a lack of consistency, poor follow-through and redundant or inadequate procedures are common problems within these general interactions.
- Phones and help lines: A great deal of customer interaction can take place over the phone. Many of the same problems that arise in general customer interactions are likely to come up during interactions over the phone. It is important to have a strong standard of phone service. Employees have to be trained to meet this standard in interactions with customers, other employees, and outside agencies. After all, maintaining a professional relationship within your immediate business community is its own form of service.
- Help desk software: Service-oriented help desk software packages like Cayzu exist to help business streamline a business’s customer support operations. Software can allow you to track calls, open conflict resolution tickets, and record the outcome of particular casesHelp desk softwares can also help you monitor your social media properties like Facebook or Twitter so no matter where a customer complaint is posted, your team will know about it.
How Improved Interactions Improve Business
Now that a few common problems with support have been identified, we can take a closer look at how they can be corrected. Here is a simple example.
An established tea and coffee shop provides customers with beverages made to order and a light menu. Inconsistent service training has resulted in a number of employees that habitually fail to greet customers and are unable to answer basic questions about food and drink offerings. Though customers enjoy the shop’s ambiance, the poor standard of service drives them away.
Consistent new employee training will help correct the procedural difficulties as well as set the standard that employees are expected to maintain and orientations can be held to familiarize employees with new menu items.
A few simple changes can make a big difference in repeat business and ultimately your bottom line because remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer.