Once a start-up is on its feet, the next task is to grow and gain loyal customers and clients. The oft-repeated advice that providing excellent customer service is critical to success often lacks detail about exactly how to go about it. These five elements of great customer service will help entrepreneurs and business owners boost their reputation for going the extra mile.
Customers know they’re the ones paying your salary and generating profits for your business. They expect and deserve your respect. Even a high-maintenance customer who complains frequently or finds fault in everything you do deserves to know that they are important to you. Patience is a virtue, and practicing it with all your customers, no matter how many questions they have or how often they ask them, is a critical element of great customer service.
Knowing that you have heard and understood them is important to customers. Using active listening skills to confirm understanding will avoid miscommunication. Interrupting or anticipating what a customer is going to say is irritating and disrespectful. Customers deserve time to explain their needs and issues fully.
A delayed response is as good as a ghosting to a customer. If you can’t address their problem immediately, the very least you can do is respond to their call or email and let them know a timeframe for when you can give their issue your focused attention.
Businesses that give customers confidence in their specialized knowledge gain customer loyalty. Thorough knowledge of the products and services a business offers and a willingness to provide detailed information should be prerequisites to customer interaction for any employee of your business.
Admit when you’ve made a mistake, and act quickly to rectify the problem. If your business can’t meet a customer’s needs, say so—don’t make promises you can’t keep.
The basics of customer service are essentially the same across many kinds of businesses. A good plumbing contractor shares traits with a responsive retail store or a business coaching service in how they manage their relationships with their customers. Whatever your business, communication skills, patience, respect, expertise, and honesty will help you build a reputation for excellent customer service.