If you have your own business, good customer service can mean the difference between success and failure. There’s lots of talk out there about bringing in customers, but what about keeping them? Good customer service is essential if you want to keep your business profitable. Take a look at these customer service tips:
Only make promises you can keep
Customers are savvy. If you make exaggerated promises and then don’t keep them, those promises may get a few people in the door, but word will get around fast that you’re not a man or woman of your word. Only promise to do something if you can actually deliver. Realistic promises may be lower key than hyped up promises, but they’re honest and will help your reputation. Customers will refer you to others and will recommend you as someone who is honest, straightforward, and reliable.
Answer your phone
It’s essential to good business that you’re reliable, and that translates to answering your phone. Your voice mail message should enumerate your business hours if you have them, and when you won’t be available; invite customers to leave a message and then get back to them promptly. Answer your phone without fail during business hours. If you can’t do it yourself, hire staff to do it, or if you can’t afford to staff, hire an answering service (we suggest PCNAnswers!). Being available to customers at set hours of the day through phone contact is a sign that you’re reliable, and that’s going to both bring customers to you, and keep them coming back.
Listen to customers and handle any complaints promptly
If a customer comes to you with a need or complaint, listen intently and handle it promptly. Nothing is more frustrating to customers than not being listened to or taken care of when they have a problem you can fix. A successful business doesn’t just rely on bringing in new customers. It also handles current customers with TLC. That’s good business practice anyway, and word will spread that you care about your customers and take care of their needs, promptly.
Be helpful to visitors even if it doesn’t necessarily mean profit for you right now
If you’ve got a business that offers services to people, be helpful and friendly to them even if they’re not going to buy anything from you. For example, if a visitor comes into your store and isn’t buying anything that day but just wants advice on what you sell, give them that advice freely without trying to make a sale. If you’re accessible and not going for the “hard sell,” that customer will think of you the next time he or she needs something you sell – and will come to you to buy it.
Give a little extra
Go the extra mile by helping a customer find something instead of telling him or her where to look. Throw in an unexpected small discount. “A little extra” costs you little or nothing, but it can improve your bottom line significantly.
Why? A genuine smile can make a customer’s day — and a sale, too.