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Best Practices for Killer Customer Service

By Townes Haas   |    January 12, 2016   |    10:27 AM

Customer service is the key to keeping customers and spreading positive word of mouth. Running a successful small business can be difficult at times. You often have to compete with large household-name companies that have a lot of funding so they may offer a wider selection of goods and/or services, more numerous locations, and lower prices. So why is it then that customers keep coming back to small businesses? In many cases, it is due to the excellent, personalized service. Here are some tips to ensure you maintain the best customer service.

Seek customer feedback

It may be hard to know where to focus your efforts or where improvement is required. Acquire and record feedback from your customers. Depending on your type of small business you might want to provide a survey card or instead directly have your staff ask customers about their experience. Customers like being asked for feedback; it demonstrates that your small business cares.

Approach every decision with the customer in mind

When you make a decision always help your customer. Some business decisions inadvertently include management layers and additional burdensome processes that might hinder good customer service.

For your customer-facing roles hire people who care

Actively select employees with a caring, empathetic streak to work with customers. As the adage goes: hire for attitude, train for skills. Big firms possess a high turnover rate for employees, and customers never really get to know the staff nor have a personalized experience. This is understandable; it is hard to muster passion to work at a large, faceless corporation. However, as a small business your strategy should be different: make sure your employees care.

Hire a virtual assistant to help you

Many customers expect quick responses to their queries and someone available continuously to help them, whether it is with online sales processing, answering a product/service question or troubleshooting with an existing problem. To be successful, you need to ensure you offer constant customer service. This can be very time-consuming job. You and your employees may not have time to deal with all the customer needs. You may be too busy to offer your undivided attention. A virtual assistant can help you in many of these ways. For example, this could be to answer customer questions via phone, live chat, email and on social media. The virtual assistant might also answer questions in real-time, assuage dissatisfied customers and much more.

Make a point of getting to know your customers

Unlike a large business, as a small business can you and your staff can take the time to get to know your customers and their needs. If you treat them like friends, take an interest in them as people, you will forge long-lasting relationships. This will allow you to anticipate their customer needs. You can provide tailor-made solutions as well as supply extra services and favors to high-volume, longtime customers to retain their loyalty.