As a small business owner, it’s our responsibility to bring our A game when it comes to serving our customers. This means having stellar systems in place for communicating with customers, handling orders and selling products. The experience customers have from the minute they land on your website or in your inbox sets the tone for their interaction with you. When we make it simple for a customer to work and connect with us it’s so much easier to grow our business.
How many of you have had a not so great experience with a business? One that’s left you angry and frustrated and feeling like you were totally gypped? One where you ended up resentful because you spent money on what turned out to be a bad investment. (I've certainly been there!) We are all someone’s dream client or customer which leaves me wondering, why the heck to some businesses make it so darn difficult to work with them?!
Customer service and serving our clients should be the #1 priority and unfortunately, this is where a lot of small businesses fall short. Far too often I see small businesses approach their client care with an underwhelming attitude. If I expect someone to open their wallets for me I am damn sure they’re going to get the best experience I can possibly provide. I expect to be treated by other businesses as I would treat my own clients and when that doesn’t happen, I tend to see red. I want to sit them down and let them know that their lack of consistency, communication, and respect for my time has just cost them my business. But because I hate confrontation, I usually just let it go and no longer shop their store, or use their service. The true secret behind turning your customers into raving fans? Create a stellar client experience for them.
Don’t argue with customers:
It’s inevitable, at some point you are going to deal with a difficult client or unhappy customer. As heated as they may be, it’s your responsibility to handle the situation with grace. Having a full blown argument isn’t going to help anyone, but being open to hearing what they have to say will. The customer may not always be right, but they always deserve your respect and support.
You are easily accessible
There are a lot of moving parts to your business. While it may not be realistic for you as the owner to always be available to help customers a member of your team should be. Nobody wants to jump through hoops to have a question answered or make a return. When you make it easy for clients and customers to connect with you, they will remember the experience and be more inclined to purchase from you again because they know if there is a problem, you’re going to help make it right.
You allow for some wiggle room in your terms + policies
Terms and policies protect your business but being so strict in enforcing them can work against you because not every situation that you encounter is going to be black and white. Let’s say your opening order minimum is $150 and a new store is at $146. Will pushing them to hit your minimum work in your favor? How can you shape their first experience with you so it leaves a positive lasting impression? I’m not saying you should bend the rules for everyone or constantly sacrifice profits but being ok with deviating from your rules + policies from time to time (depending on the situation) will ultimately work in your favor. The quickest way to fail? Maintaining the mindset of “if I do it for you I’ll have to do it for everyone”
You have a system in place for keeping track of your customers, inventory + orders
The quickest way to upset your customers: let something fall through the cracks. In the beginning, it can be tempting to rely solely on a spreadsheet to keep track of your customers, your inventory and the orders you ship but it leaves way too much room for human error. One miskey could mean you accidentally ship too much or too little of an item, or that your inventory numbers are completely off base which may lead to over or under ordering stock down the road. I’m not saying invest in the most expensive CRM software out there, but upgrading from the basics is going to get you so much further.
You keep your promises and your communication is consistent
When you’re running a product based business a big portion of what you do revolves around quoting delivery dates and shipping your products on time. There are going to be instances where there is an issue with the printer or goods get delayed (which totally sucks) How a business handles these hiccups separates those who will thrive from those who will fail.
If you promise your goods for a certain date and can’t make that delivery the businesses with the best customer service pick up the phone immediately and call their customers. These conversations are never comfortable and while some buyers may be angry or cancel their orders more often than not they will be understanding. By being as transparent as possible you are setting yourself up for repeat business. The businesses on the losing side of this situation are those who wait for their customers to track them before addressing the issue.
Your business (and you) are easy to work with/buy from
Amazing customer service really boils down to one thing, how you made them feel during their interaction with you, your products and your business. Develop your company’s core values around putting the customer first and you’re setting your biz up for success!