Repeat after me – I heart my customers!

by on April 21, 2011

The importance of customer service for small businessesThe universe was conspiring for me to do customer service post. All in one day I…

Got such bad customer service, that I was just shocked. Flabbergasted. I was treated as though it was an inconvenience to have me as a customer. Plus, the lady on the other line also tried to make me feel stupid for not knowing their policies. I was steaming mad when I got off the phone

Then I got a post from one of my fav bloggers, Corbett Barr, talking about the importance of killer customer service and how many small businesses think they can get away with bad treatment. 

Then I went out for dinner to Vij’s, a Vancouver landmark, with some of the yummiest Indian food I’ve ever had, and hands down the best customer service I’ve experienced in the restaurant industry. Any of you locals out there know that to wait an hour (or more!) for your table is an absolute pleasure. Free appies, lovely wait staff at your beck and call, the owner buzzing around the restaurant greeting everyone and making sure you got to try every single complimentary bit of food being passed around.

So on to the topic of today… are you wowing your customers and knocking their socks off with your fabulousness? Your small business depends on this!

Your opportunity to get a leg up on the big boys

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, you have a major competitive advantage when it comes to how you treat your customers. You can give them that personable service that they would never get from a large corporation. You can make every single touch point as pleasant as possible. You can make impromptu decisions and address complaints and problems as you see fit.

No corporate policies to follow. No boss that needs to approve your actions.

You can let your friendliness, empathy and caring shine on, in exactly the way that feels good to you. And that’s a wonderful thing. Take full advantage of this opportunity.

Your customers are your life blood. You have to treat them right each and every chance you get, even if they are trying your patience, or making your life difficult. Rock your customer service no matter what. Follow these customer service tips and then repeat after me – my customers are not a burden!

Online marketing is digital customer service – do you have your bases covered?

Customer service does not just refer to telephone calls and greeting your customers in store. The internet has brought customer service to the digital world. Good customer service means that each and every touch point, whether in person, or online, is a positive one. Do you have your online service rocking too?

Make sure that you are…

  • Monitoring your social media accounts and responding to your customers as they interact with you. Twitter mentions? Check. Blog comments? Check. Facebook posts? Check. There is a great responsibility in terms of social media customer service, but also a wonderful opportunity to create raving fans.
  • Writing pleasant emails. Emails convey a tone and a feeling. Make sure they are friendly and charming. Make your customers feel warm and fuzzy.
  • Broadcasting your contact information. Don’t bury phone numbers or emails in your website. Shout them out and let you customers know that you want to talk.
  • Responding in a timely fashion. Corporations are notorious for taking weeks to answer emails (or never answering them at all). You’re not a corporation, so you really can’t away with this. In fact, it’s even worse if you don’t answer because people know that you are small and don’t have the “I’m a corporation” excuse. A lack of response makes it blatantly obvious that you don’t care.
  • Providing your customers the information they need. Is your website easy to navigate? Do your potential customers know immediately what you do? A poor user experience on a website = bad customer service.

Be wary of your competitive confidence

Many small businesses are in the lucky position of having no real competition in their market or industry. While this is great, it can actually cause problems when it comes to customer service. If you have all the customers you need, and you know that there is no one else people can go to, you might get cocky. You might not care how you treat your customers, cause, hey, they have no other choice.

When I told you guys about the bad service I got, this is exactly the position that this company is in. They pretty much have no competition.

A word of caution if this is your situation and you are not taking your service seriously. As soon as another competitor enters the market, your customers will take the opportunity to jump ship if given the chance. I promise you. Bad service will create a negative brand image that you will never be able to bounce back from, because you won’t be given the chance. The customer has already walked.

So take this chance to stop and think about your customers. Are you treating your them as well as you should? As you would like to be treated?

Give your customers the experience that a large corporation never could. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and provide an unforgettable experience. How do you, or will you, wow your customers? Let me know in the comments!

Comments, likes and tweets are always appreciated! Did I mention that I LOVE your feedback?

Image source:paytai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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