As the owner, operator, or manager of a small business, one of your most important responsibilities is running the company in a way that builds strong customer relationships through excellent customer service. In our competitive global economy, small businesses can succeed or fail on the basis of customer relations. As well, in a technological age where customers are connected to any number of businesses with a few keystrokes, developing a strategy and approach that maintains a superior level of customer service may be the one element that sets your business apart from the rest. There are a number of strategies that your small business can employ to help keep customers happy and satisfied.
Establish a Personal Rapport
Because small businesses typically have a small customer base especially if your business is relatively new you have an opportunity to get to know clients on a much more personal level. All employees should be encouraged to get to know customers or clients by name and face, as well as keep in mind items or services that each customer is partial to. Doing this allows you and your employees to interact personally with customers each time they visit your business. Additionally, many customers will appreciate the personalized support and assistance.
Treat Every Customer Equally
Small businesses often struggle to generate meaningful profit on a regular or steady basis. Thus, the habit of many small business owners and of the employees that work for them is to encourage special treatment for customers who spend large amounts of money with the business. However, this strategy can ultimately backfire and lead to a decrease in new business. As a small business owner, it’s smart to instead strive to treat every customer equally and with the utmost respect and gratitude. Since every customer and client is important to the success of your business, encourage employees to provide the same excellent and personalized service to each customer. Plus, customers who spend just a little money with you today could end up spending a lot of money with you in the future.
Ask for Feedback, Listen, and Respond
One of the best tools for providing amazing customer service is taking advantage of feedback from customers. For example, using simple surveys that customers fill out in your store can provide a wealth of information on how to better serve them. Alternately, you may want to spend one-on-one time with customers and ask relevant questions, such as how well your employees are meeting their needs and wants.
The follow-up to receiving feedback is just as important as the feedback itself. For instance, if several customers note long periods of time waiting without assistance, choose to start making prompt assistance to customers a priority with your employees. As areas of concern are regularly heard and addressed, customers will recognize that their voice is being heard and that their needs are important to your business. This strategy is one of the most effective ways you can improve existing customer retention and develop an ever-expanding customer base.