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Nearly a third of consumers believe that businesses are now paying less attention to providing good customer service. On top of that, just seven-percent of those polled say that customer service experiences they have with companies typically exceed their expectations. Now think about how you could succeed and profit as a business if you not only continually offered good service to your customers, but also frequently offered more than what they expected.

One of the best ways to get started is to line up your customer service with your brand. In fact, good service has been found time and time again to trump advertising when it comes to impact on brand image. But first you must put these five key building blocks in place.

1. Have a clear brand promise.

A November 2012 study by the American Society of Quality, found that among the 600 companies examined, the single largest challenge was the setting of proper expectations. Take the time to clearly state what your brand is about. This includes what you are and aren’t willing to do when it comes to customer service, so there is no confusion.

2. Require everyone to follow the brand promise.

Employees from top to bottom must walk the talk of the brand promise. Managers are responsible for enforcing this, but more importantly, of leading by example. You can’t expect a cashier to follow certain customer service protocols, if their boss isn’t willing to jump in and do the same.

3. Figure out what your values are.

Small businesses need not create a grand mission statement like a larger organization might. But they can still put into a few words what their vision is. Ask what the value add of your service or product might be. Then write it down. You may choose words like “efficiency,”“knowledgeable,”“genuine,”“innovative,” or even, “real.”

4. Formalize your customer service process, but allow for flexibility.

Once your vision is in place, take the time to map out your customer service plan. Train your employees that there is one way of doing things, but also let them know that there will be situations where they can let go of the “process”. Teach them to be consistent, but not have to a robotic response.

5. Measure your customer service and ask for feedback.

Find a way to track your customer service to ensure it backs your brand image. One tried and true method is to ask for feedback. Most people won’t tell you what you did wrong if there is not a safe way to complain. This especially applies to small businesses, because customers are more likely to know you personally.

For many more tips on giving customers the service they want, download the free ebook 6 Secrets to Offering Exceptional Customer Service. Simply click here or the button below.