Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, your small business enterprise would come to a screeching halt. In many cases it is the novice or low-ranking employee whom your customers meet, the people who are the face of your company. That face-to-face contact should be a positive experience if you expect your customers to continue to do business with you.
The American writer Max Eastman said, “A smile is the universal welcome.” And it is a smile that your customers deserve to be greeted with whenever they enter your place of business. Hire only enthusiastic and friendly staff to work with your customers; reassign or let go employees who are not right for your corporate culture.
When a request is made or an order is placed, your employees need to hear what the customer is asking and meet that request without fail. Sometimes that means tailoring your response to meet a specific need, satisfying a special request to gain a satisfied customer.
How does your staff handle complaints? Do they genuinely listen with an ear toward resolving the problem? Or are they dismissive and looking for ways to avoid the customer? You may not be able to satisfy every customer request, but most certainly every customer needs to be afforded the respect that they deserve. Empower your employees to solve most small problems on their own.
No matter how difficult the customer may be, your staff needs to show courtesy at all times. Train your staff on how best to handle a problem, including bringing in a senior team member or manager to help resolve the problem. Resolve the problem quickly by offering empathy to the customer while continuing to support your employees as you come up with a satisfactory solution.
Disgruntled customers as well as loyal, happy customers will remember your good customer service if you provide something over and beyond what they expect. If you operate a restaurant, offer a free dessert to satisfy your customer. If you manage an office supply store, ship the order overnight at no extra cost to the customer. Sometimes it is the small gesture that shows customers you appreciate them, charming and disarming effort on your part to show someone you care.