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Running a successful small business can be a struggle. Big-name companies have the luxury of being able to offer greater selection, better locations, and lower prices across all industries. Why, then, do customers keep coming back to small businesses? In many cases, it boils down to service.

Small businesses are known for treating customers as individuals rather than numbers, which tends to be one’s experience with larger businesses and corporations. If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to deliver high-quality customer service.

Are you making the cut? Read on for six excellent tips about small business customer service.

1. Implement technology

Technological innovations in the business world are becoming more affordable. Today, your small business can offer a lot of benefits that previously had been affordable only for large corporations. One of the many benefits of a POS system, according to Vend POS, is the ability to track purchases made by individuals and larger demographics. That way, you know what they prefer, what they’re likely to buy, and how to reach out with personalized marketing.

POS not only increases sales, but it also makes the customer feel well taken care of. POS systems allow for superior management of inventory, offers, promotions, and pricing. Say goodbye to accidentally selling customers out-of-stock merchandise, and differential pricing between locations. Speed of sales and customer service also significantly improve when small businesses install POS software.

2. Ask for personalized feedback

Most businesses don’t know where to focus their efforts at improvement on their own. Feedback from customers is the best way to know which changes might be the most productive.

What’s more, customers like being asked for feedback; it lets them know the business cares about their experience. Be sure to ask for feedback in a personal way, face to face or via a personalized email. Next, ensure you acknowledge a customer’s response.

Formulate your solicitation with questions about recent purchases or products relating to the person’s interests. This feedback in invaluable for improving your business and conveys to customers that you value their individual opinions.

3. Make an appearance

Avoid the temptation to hide behind your employees. Customers love the ability to reach management easily with their questions, complaints, and concerns. Appearing in person in your physical store shows a dedication to your business and the quality of customer experience you embody. You should be involved in your firm’s day-to-day operations, both for your customers’ and your employees’ sake. Failing to appear can make you seem aloof.

4. Hire people who care

Many chains have a high turnover rate for employees, and don’t tend to hire people who care about their products or their business. This makes a certain amount of sense; after all, few people can drum up a lot of passion to work customer service at a huge chain. However, your strategy as a small business should be different: your employees should care.

Clients should see how much your workers care about the business, the product, and customer experience. One person’s bad attitude can drag down an entire company’s reputation. Pay your employees well and treat them with respect to ensure their commitment to your success. If you’re struggling as a business, don’t let yourself make the treatment of your employees a lesser priority. You need them, and you need the best they can offer.

Your employees should be happy to work for you. Create mentoring programs to allow for advancement within your business.

5. Don’t neglect your internet presence

Big businesses have invested in web presence for a long time. In today’s retail environment, small businesses must have a strong internet presence as well. The purpose of your website might vary, depending on your products and how large or small your business is. But in any case, your website should be user-friendly and provide information your customers want.

Your website is often the first face a new customer will see of your company. At the very least, every website must have the name of your business, your business’ location, your company’s contact information, and your business hours…but high-quality content is important as well.

Be sure to optimize your website for mobile usage or use responsive design, since a large amount of internet traffic today comes from mobile sites.

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, customers are more likely than not to seek another option. Your business should also have a social media presence — at the very least, a Facebook page.

6. Overcompensate for mistakes

Every customer should leave your store happy. If you or a staff member makes a mistake, the customer should still be satisfied.

It’s your obligation to overcompensate – resist the urge to act defensive. Many customers want nothing more than to vent their complaints. Listen patiently and offer sincere apologies.

As a small business, it all comes down to your core values. Always consider the way employees andclients like to be treated, and don’t neglect vendor interactions. Happier employees are infinitely more likely to provide stellar customer service, so make it your goal to treat everyone the way you would like to be treated; ultimately, you’ll provide better business across the board.

About the Author

What does every CEO need to know about customer service? Visit salesforce.com or download the free e-book to find out. 

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