by Dana Griffin
Companies of all sizes have realized that taking care of their customers is a large and important task. Good customer service relies on the right employees, good training and consistently good practices. The modern customer will often choose a company based on their service record, and they are willing to pay more for that service. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, “No business, whatever its size, can afford to take customers for granted.”
Customer service references all the different techniques businesses use to keep customers satisfied. That includes friendly, knowledgeable and attentive staff as well as quick and helpful response to product defects, ordering issues. Just meeting the needs of the customer won’t cut it in today’s business world; you need to actively make their lives easier, more productive or more convenient to keep their business.
Better customer service often means increased revenue. Customer loyalty increases customer retention, repeat business and customer referrals. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports, “The growing significance of meeting–or exceeding-customer demands for quality service has special implications for small businesses.” Because you have a smaller client base, you can offer personalized service that customers just cannot get from a larger company.
The most important part of building a good customer service team is hiring the right people. Your customer service representatives should be personable and responsible. Many pre-screening tests offer valid results that can help you pick the right people for the job. Make sure you tell the employees how much, and what kind, of customer interaction they should expect, just to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Customer service training is integral to your success, but don’t worry, there are many training tools available to you. One of the most common tools is video training. You can easily find companies that sell out-of-the-box customer service tools. Make sure you look at all the options, and get whatever media and style fit your company best. Make sure to train all employees who have any interaction with customers, and continually update training with constructive feedback.
U.S. Small Business Administration offers three golden rules to keep you customer service skills up to scratch. No. 1: Put the customer first. Make sure your employees know that without customers the business doesn’t run. Give them room to improvise to keep the customers happy. Second, stay close to your customers by asking questions and listening to what they want. Finally, pay attention to detail. Those little touches that make an experience stand out will keep customers coming back and bringing their friends with them.
About the Author
Dana Griffin has written for a number of guides, trade and travel periodicals since 1999. She has also been published in “The Branson Insider” newspaper. Griffin is a CPR/first-aid instructor trainer for the American Red Cross, owns a business and continues to write for publications. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English composition from Vanguard University.