Has anyone had to call a customer service hotline lately? I’d almost rather elect to have a root canal. Customer service in big business has largely become customer dis-service.
While this practice may be acceptable in the corporate world, one place it is not suitable is in your small business. Customers are the backbone of your company. When you fail to treat them as individuals (or even human beings), your business fails as well. Customers matter. Relationships matter.
How can I put the customer back in customer service you may ask?
Well, here are some tips to help guide you in your mission to return personal relationships to your small business:
- Be aware of the customer’s importance. This cannot be repeated too many times. In today’s society, customers often have unlimited vendors to choose from. Just because they have elected to give you their business does not mean they cannot or will not ever take their business elsewhere. The customer relationship means business security. Like any good relationship, it needs to be fostered and tended to, not taken for granted. How you treat your customers has a direct effect on the successfulness of your business.
- Be sincere without smothering. For example, have you ever gone to [insert company name here] and from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave, an employee/employees make a point to say your name over a dozen times? You leave the store thinking “just give me my [insert item here], I know my name!” At that point, personalization does not generate good feelings and can actually be detrimental to your business. There is a fine line in business between personal service and stay-out-of-my-life. What works best for your venture may be different from another. My best advice here is no matter what you do, be sincere. It is much better to be sincerely addressed by one’s name as a customer than to feel some type of goal exists for how many times you can insert the customer’s name in a sentence.
- Be a woman of your word. An important part of any relationship is trust. Customers should be able to trust that you will fulfill your promises to them. Keep your word in your business—if you promise to ship something out on Tuesday, you need to do everything in your power to get that package out on Tuesday. Of course, there will always be exceptions to what can be done, but always remember that trust is a fragile thing. It can take a lifetime to build and a second to destroy. If you find you cannot live up to your word for any reason, take responsibility and make a personal connection with the affected client, striving to make the situation right.
Relationships have a huge effect on all aspects of our lives. Let’s cultivate an abundance of positive relationships!
In business, strive to make those relationships as solid and successful as possible. Keep the customer in your customer service and remember “the Golden Rule”.
Strive each day to make your customers feel valued, respected, and secure in their trust of your business.