Big Service: Small Businesses Can Exceed Customer Expectations

Florist guiding female customer in buying flowers at store

The digital age has certainly changed the shape of customers’ expectations. With everything from banks to big box retailers open for business online 24/7, customers have come to expect responsive, consistent service from businesses both large and small.

Your small business may not have the manpower to staff an overnight customer support team, or the infrastructure to support “order online, pick up in store,” but by simply spending time looking at your business through the eyes of your customer, you can exceed their expectations just as well as the big guys.

Here are some customer service Do’s:

  • Train and Empower Your Team
    As the old adage goes, people do business with people. No matter how virtual we may be, human interaction goes a long way to impact the customer experience – for better or worse. Create processes that empower employees to provide great service, and train them accordingly. This includes the basics – greeting customers with a smile; having a standard way of answering the phone – and more advanced levels of service – giving employees easy access to important information, like shipping statuses or invoices; creating standard responses across the company to the top five customer inquiries.
  • Make Online Easy
    Your website should allow customers to help themselves – whether they want to order a product, look up a past invoice or simply find out what it is you sell, your site should be intuitive and designed with the customer experience in mind. Hair salons should add online booking, boutiques should include a list of product brands in stock. Businesses of all stripes should put contact info at the bottom of every website page. Make it easy for your customer to do business with you.
  • Realize Looks Matter
    Many small businesses (and heck, even some of the large ones) forget those elements of good customer service that are seen, not heard. Dirty, unkempt stores turn customers off. They suggest a lack of care that unconsciously translates to a lack of customer care. On the contrary, clean, updated, well-lit storefronts create the expectation for a customer that she is in capable, caring hands.
  • Track Satisfaction
    Whether you track customer retention or survey data, customer satisfaction is an important key performance indicator. Give customers ample opportunity to provide feedback and continue to track and review metrics to solve any negative customer feedback.

For more small business insight, we recommend American Express’ Open Forum.

 

 

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