If you’ve ever owned or operated a retail store – or any type of customer-facing business, for that matter – you’re likely aware of how important good customer service truly is.
Furthermore, in the age of instant gratification, solid customer service has become even more crucial to the success of small businesses.
After all, if your store is unable and/or unwilling to provide customers with the services they seek, they’ll have no trouble finding worthy competitors with a few simple clicks.
So, if your small business’s customer service practices could use an overhaul, consider the following measures.
Top 3 Ways Small Business Owners Cater To Customer Needs
1. Rent Workspace In A Convenient Location
If your business is largely built around face-to-face interactions, it’s in your best interest to select an office or retail space that’s found in a convenient location. Successful businesses often seek to make things as easy as possible for their customers, and choosing a space that’s easily accessible and difficult to miss can be a fantastic way to go about this.
For example, a store owner looking for retail space for lease in Tempe should actively seek out locations that are easy to get to. Conversely, choosing a space in a difficult-to-find or out-of-the-way location is liable to confuse and frustrate both current and prospective patrons and result in low foot traffic.
2. Be Willing to Own Up to Mistakes
When a consumer is inconvenienced by a mistake made on the part of a small business, the ensuing frustration often stems from the manner in which the business addresses its mistake instead of the mistake itself. If your default reaction to being presented with a mistake is to become defensive, indignant, or outright angry, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a sharp drop in repeat business and a considerable rise in negative online feedback.
So, the next time a customer comes to you with a mistake, make an effort to fight back the urge to go on the defensive. Instead, try to see things from the customer’s perspective and be open to accepting the very real possibility that your business has made a mistake.
Furthermore, in addition to providing inconvenienced patrons with sincere apologies, do everything in your power to make amends for any blunders on your end. In all likelihood, the customer will appreciate your humility and remain open to providing you with their continued patronage.
3. Educate Your Staff on the Tenets of Good Customer Service
When it comes to customer service, it’s important to ensure that every member of your team is on the same page. In the absence of solid instruction on the tenets of good customer service, some team members may decide to wing it and exhibit customer service techniques that are likely to draw ire instead of encouraging goodwill.
With this in mind, sit down with every member of your staff and instruct them on how to provide caring, responsive customer service. Throughout the course of your instructions, take care to emphasize the importance of courtesy, timeliness, gratitude, and general dependability.
Additionally, encourage anyone who has questions or is unclear on certain points to bring any inquiries directly to you. Far too often, people are afraid of asking questions, as some employers characterize this as an indication that someone is incapable of doing their job without excessive hand-holding. Needless to say, this type of attitude is often counterproductive and creates far more problems than it actually solves.
Furthermore, in order to instill the importance of good customer service in your staff, you may want to consider reprimanding individuals who are found to be in repeated violation of customer service policies. This isn’t to say that anyone needs to lose their job over such infractions, but repeat offenders should be aware that adopting a rude or indifferent approach to customer service carries certain consequences.
The quality of your business’s customer service can play a pivotal role in its success – or lack thereof. So, if you or any of your team members are failing to bring your A-game when interacting with patrons, now would be a great time to get on top of this.
Since the last thing any business wants is a reputation for providing lackluster customer service, problems in this area should be dealt with posthaste. The tips outlined above can prove tremendously helpful to any business that’s currently struggling with customer service and set the stage for lasting success.