5 Handy Customer Service Tips for Small Businesses

Whether you are running an e-commerce portal, a restaurant down the street or a consultancy firm. To thrive in the present marketplace, you need an excellent customer service. Not convinced? Here are some insightful statistics supporting the same:

  • As per research, over 55% of customers are willing to pay more when they are guaranteed a good experience.
  • 67% of consumers stated bad customer service as the main reason for churning.
  • Again, 66% of consumers admitted shifting brand loyalty, because of unsatisfactory customer service.

Thus, above mentioned stats clearly highlight, that your attitude towards your customers defines the success of your business. Though delivering a stellar customer service takes time but when done rightly, not only does it increase your sales but also helps in fostering strong customer relationships, ultimately resulting in longer customer lifetime value. Take a look at these 5 handy tips that can help you in improving overall customer service experience:

1. Know your Customers – As nicely quoted by Jack Mitchell, the author of ‘Hug your Customers’, selling is no more about transactions rather it is about relationship building. The thumb rule for giving your customers an exemplary customer service is, you need to have a fair idea about what your customers want. Customer needs keep changing from time-to-time, and if you honor the individual preferences that are unique to every customer then the success is assured.

Especially, in the case of small businesses, it is easier to adapt to individual customer needs and use this knowledge to improve your customer service. Again, it is no more limited to ‘May I help you’, rather it’s about asking your customer ‘Is the new shirt for business or any special occasion?’ Thus, staying close to the customers & their requirements can help you in giving a better and personalized experience that matters to them. Businesses could even use communications technology to learn more about their customers. That allows a business to learn their customer’s preferred method of communication, allowing them to stay in contact with the customer. Maybe businesses could find out more at Gamma. That should help businesses to stay ahead of the competition and get more repeat customers.

2. Embrace Technology – Good customer experience is the key to successful customer service. For this, you need to keep pace with the technological innovations and implement the same in your business as well. There are many tools and software available that can help you in delivering more personalized customer service. For eg. POS (Point of Sale) software can help you streamline your customer data more effectively including the ability to track purchases, keeping check on customer’s purchase history, their buying preferences, buying patterns and much more. This customer data can be of great help to give personalized customer service. To assist with this process, businesses can look to ServiceNow integration which can optimize customer and employee service with a focus on key metrics to help with decision making and being prepared. Any software that can be utilized during this time will help immensely in the functioning of a business.

Besides, POS software also help in advanced inventory management, promotions, pricing and offers. On the other hand, integrating artificial intelligence in your business can also help in personalizing your customer service. One perfect example of AI in the eCommerce industry is the use of chatbots to respond to inquiries and such. Thus, understanding & implementing new technologies can enable you to serve customers in the best possible way.

3. Ask for Personalized Feedback – As per data, almost 70% of companies that deliver exemplary customer service use customer service feedback.

There is nothing more valuable than receiving genuine feedback from the customers. Customer feedback helps you understand, where you need to fill the gaps and which changes will prove to be most productive for your business. When you ask a customer about their feedback then it conveys to them how much the business cares about their experience. It is always good to ask for feedback in a more personal way such as a telephonic call or even a personalized email is also appropriate. Next thing is, never ignore a customer’s response. If he /she has taken out time to provide you feedback then acknowledge it.

The most ideal way to gather customer feedback is by asking questions based on their recent purchase or usage of a specific product or service. It gives you an actionable insight to give better customer experience.

4. Maintain an Online Presence – Business has gone very digital in the last few years. Even if you are operating a small business, you cannot afford to ignore your online presence. You need to have an active web and social media presence. As your website is the first point of contact for your customers, so the need of a user-friendly website cannot be ruled out. Your website must comprise of all important information including your location, thorough description of your product/services, feedback form, FAQs (frequently asked questions), contact information and details of your social media handles.

In addition, make sure you optimize your website for mobile devices as a major chunk of internet traffic comes from hand-held devices now. Having a full-time representative for answering online queries or concerns is highly recommended to improve online customer service experience.

5. An active Social Media Presence – Here are some thoughtful social media statistics:

  • Companies who engage and respond to customer service requests over social media witnesses an average increase in the spending of customers varying from 20% to 40%.
  • As per a recent study by Gartner, companies who delay or ignore responding on social media platforms witness an average churn rate that is 15% higher as compared to companies who don’t.

Thus, social media presence can also come in very handy to provide excellent customer service experience. Mainly its Facebook, Twitter and G+ that have become popular platforms to solicit and receive customer reviews and service. Thus, maintaining online presence on multiple social media platforms can make sure your customers enjoy a complete customer service experience.

Delivering fast and great support on the social platforms can help you not only retain customers rather build stronger relationships with them as well.

Customer service is the most important component for the success of any business. If you manage to put customer service at the heart of your strategy then you can surely build genuine and lasting relationship with your customers.

This is a guest post from Raj. Part time Dreamer, Full time Realist. Technology Monger & Pen Revolutionary. Likes turning simple things complex. While you were Debating the Glass was Half Full or Half Empty, He Sold it. He’s Working @ Designhill.com as a Strategic Alliances & Marketing Communications Manager.