Small Business Brief

Customer Service

6 Tips for the Best Small Business Customer Service

To boost sales and grow a loyal consumer base, you have to focus on your small business customer service. Service is everything when it comes to converting….

Wouldn’t it be great if you got every customer interaction right the first time?

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You might send the wrong color of something that was bought or deliver something later than expected.

Sometimes, a sub-par customer interaction isn’t even your fault.

A user may need their product in a different size or want to swap it for a completely different unit you offer. Such exchanges are often because the customer made a mistake in their original order.

Either way, it’s up to your small business customer service to turn such wrongs into a right.

Here are six things to do to ensure you have the best possible customer service staff.

1. Use the Right Training

Quality service starts with quality training.

Make sure every person you bring on staff is fully aware of your small business customer service standards. It doesn’t matter if they are a manager or a stock person, at some point, they will likely need to work with a customer.

Prepare them for this situation with the right tools.

Go through your training as a team from time to time as well.

Use these meetings as a chance to role-play common customer service scenarios. All-staff training is also a great opportunity to share updates or new tools to use in the customer service process.

Be sure to review every time you train, no matter if it’s one-on-one or with your whole staff.

This allows you to clear up any questions and be confident in your staff’s ability to handle customer service.

2. Take Your Time

One of the main things to stress during training should be doing things right the first time.

This doesn’t mean preventing the need for small business customer service – although such proactive measures are great.

This means focusing on the value of going through the customer service cycle with patience and attention to detail. Such an approach allows your service staff to correct an issue on the first try.

Otherwise, they risk rushing the process and creating another problem.

These mistakes can further damage your brand image and decrease your chances of creating repeat customers after an issue is solved.

3. Close with Care

Just when you think you’ve handled everything that needs to be taken care of, ask to confirm.

This is the last step in handling a small business customer service issue patiently.

But, it goes a long way because only 4% of dissatisfied customers speak up.

Train your team to open the door for a customer’s voice to be heard. All it takes is one question for a person to confirm or deny if the issue is fully resolved.

Some phrases to guide your team’s questioning can be:

  • Is there anything else I can do for you today?
  • Did you need another issue resolved?
  • Were those the only questions you had about your (experience/product)?

These questions allow users to continue the conversation if they feel they still need assistance.

Also, train your team to use follow-up phrasing when wrapping up a customer service interaction. A follow-up can be an offer to send everything discussed in an email or to give a call-back within a certain amount of time.

4. Be Human

As you’re discussing customer service terms in training, don’t forget to tell your staff to be human.

They shouldn’t be reading things from a script or sounding generic.

Instead, they should listen to the customers and treat each situation as a unique case. This might sound backward when you think of the small business customer service system you’re trying to establish.

But, by approaching each customer service interaction as its own case, your staff avoids sounding rehearsed.

Instead, they will sound like people who genuinely care about righting a wrong. That’s something any customer can appreciate.

It works much better than speeding through a script and relying on an easy, pre-determined fix to get things right.

5. Track Performance

It’s one thing to prepare your team for the customer service tasks ahead of them.

It’s another to see just how well they are applying their training.

Use tracking methods to keep an eye on the results of your team’s customer service efforts.

There are many third-party systems you can outsource to do this with ease.

Some will track calls and conversion rates, while others will time how long it takes an issue to be resolved. You can often work with a representative to find the best approach for your team.

If you want to track performance yourself, conversion and repeat purchase numbers are a good place to start.

These will reflect your brand loyalty with consumers over time. When people are satisfied with their customer service experience, they are more likely to come back.

6. Ask for Feedback

Another way to understand your small business customer service results is to ask the people you’re serving.

Include a customer service survey in your follow-up email. Or, train your team to bring up a survey at the end of their service calls.

You’d be surprised how many people provide their feedback and how insightful it can be.

Feedback helps you understand where you’re improving and what you still need to work on as a whole. It can also offer new customer service ideas you haven’t even thought of yet.

Some suggestions may be to have pictures of every color you offer for a product if you aren’t already doing this. Click here to see what that looks like.

Another request could be access to a 24-hour support line. Many tech-based industries like web hosting and SEO management appreciate having such access.

Boost Your Small Business Customer Service Efforts

Ready to take your customer service to the next level?

Follow the steps above to transform the way your staff handles mistakes. Remember, mistakes happen – it’s part of running a business and engaging with customers.

But, the more you improve your customer service, the better your brand image and overall performance will be.

Speaking of branding, check out the ultimate brand-building checklist.