One of the fastest, easiest ways for growing a small business, is to deliver consistent, quality service to anyone with whom your company interacts. Shouldn’t this be a no-brainer? Doesn’t everyone know that customer engagement and loyalty are tied directly to the quality and consistency of service they receive? There have been reams of reports written on the subject.
Investing in quality customer service also increases word-of-mouth advertising as your happy customers tell their networks about their experience. Word-of-mouth is – and has always been – the most powerful form of advertising– and it’s free!
For small businesses, service quality starts with establishing, communicating, modeling and monitoring the standards of service you want associated with your brand. To get you started, here are a few timeless policies to consider incorporating into your customer service standards.
Remember the Golden Rule
The golden rule that most of us learned in kindergarten is an important life-lesson that seems to frequently allude us in the age of automation. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Practicing the golden rule every day, and reminding your team of its importance will do amazing things for your customer service.
A frequent complaint from hiring managers is that many in the younger workforce simply do not know how to talk or build relationships with others. While that may be true, more seasoned workers are equally guilty of making more eye-contact with their mobile device than with the people in the real world around them. The customer in the room, or on the phone is always more important than the person online. Extend them the uncommon courtesy of your full attention.
As a business owner, it amazes me when a supplier or prospective supplier doesn’t respond to my inquiries. Returning or following up on sales, prospect or account calls, emails or IMs is the life-blood of the business. All you have to do is respond! Each industry is different, but for non-urgent situations, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect a response from a supplier or prospective supplier within 24 hours. My goal is to respond to these VIPs within the same business day. I’m not able to do it 100% of the time, but I always respond within 24 hours.
I’m not suggesting that upping your customer service game is easy. It’s not. It takes consistent mindfulness and in some cases, behavior change for many in the company. However, it does have the potential for quickly and dramatically improving your bottom-line.
Bonus benefit? Implementing customer service standards doesn’t cost your marketing budget a dime. It does, however, strengthening your brand and expand your market reach in ways that a cute YouTube video or clever web posting could never do.