“If you make a stellar product but don’t provide stellar customer service, guess what you won’t have? Very many customers. – Michael Hyatt”
The idea of customer service has been a core value of my entire life. Perhaps it started in those young years when I sold girl scout cookies, and wanted to make sure that my customers received promptly the order they had trusted me with. It grew as I worked my first jobs in retail. And today it is rooted in everything we do.
At the heart of customer service is the ancient concept of the golden rule…. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In our day often you have to compensate for the short, curt, brisk and rushed attitudes.
Here are a few ways to bring customer service into your business:
1. Listen to your customer. Take the time to focus in, be present and hear their words. Realize that your customers are your greatest resource of information, and insight. They will often provide clear and unbiased ideas and thoughts.
2. Always under promise and over deliver. It is so much better to surprise customers with more than they expect, rather than promise so much and not follow through which leads to disappointment, and diminishes their view of your business and you.
3. Follow up. In our case we ship out orders often. Take a moment to follow up that the delivery arrived. Send an email, or voice mail to check back to ensure the customer was satisfied with the order. It takes just a few moments, but your follow through creates a memory for the customer. They already love your product – let them know they are valuable to you also.
4. Respond quickly to problems – Be decisive and have a plan to respond to problems. We had a customer purchase a bar of shave soap, and upon receipt he expressed his displeasure with it (that was a first for us, and it has not happened again). We immediately refunded his money, and send a note indicating that we apologized for his dissatisfaction. Its important to realize that not every situation resolves in a good way – accept what can be corrected, understand what cannot.
Customer service is critical to the small business. This is the skill set that differentiates what you offer from that other business. Good listening, responsiveness, and clear communication are valuable and will help you to retain good customers.