A colleague went to a shop to buy an item and was met with a rude reception by the shop attendant- her tone, facial expression, and comments were not welcoming. My colleague who also wouldn’t take such attitude, responded in like manner and moved to a different shop to purchase the item. He paid a higher price for the item delivered with excellent customer service and didn’t mind the cost. This shop owner did not just lose a customer but other people my colleague would have referred to her shop.
I’ve had my share of poor customer service and it’s gradually becoming a norm for business owners. Customers will not always be right but if they are treated right, they will grow your business- they will bring referrals worth millions of dollars which cost less to acquire than using traditional advertising- they save you huge advertising cost. If you are looking at growing your business, then consider these;
1. Good customer service professionally delivered is a must for your business. Customer service is part of the product or service you are offering- the customer buys who you are first before your product or service and they can only know you by the kind of customer service they experience. You cannot compromise on the quality of customer service you must deliver.
2. Operating a business is a mutually beneficial venture between you and your customers- this is a principle that serves as a universally agreed contract between you and customers. The business cannot run without each other and you are not doing anyone a favor by being in business, hence fulfill your end of this universal contract to the best of your ability. Be the first to show kindness even when customers are not honoring their part of the contract.
3. If you operate a customer facing business, learn to manage your emotions. If you are not in the mood to deliver good customer service, don’t be in your shop or office. Customers should not suffer your wrath and emotional imbalance for something they are not responsible for. There’s no justification for being rude to a customer because of something that happened at home or elsewhere which is not their fault; it is not the responsibility of a customer to understand you. Be responsible for your emotions, have them under control, and don’t unleash it on innocent people.
4. Every customer is a potential valuable asset, they are more than someone patronizing your product or service. A customer today can be your business partner tomorrow, they can be your major connection and help to a major contract you will need. They can be the urgent help you might need in the future so if you have the privilege to serve them, be at your best, be kind, and treat them with respect. They will return every service you give them with interest.
5. Remember you are not in the market alone. For every service or product you are offering, there’s someone or a business doing the same, doing better than you, or planning to launch a similar thing so don’t get complacent. Customers will always stay where they are welcomed and feel appreciated, if they don’t get it from you, they will find it elsewhere. Your competitors stand ready to offer the service you are failing give, to keep a customer. Let excellent customer service be part of your competitive advantage.
6. Invest in training your staff, it pays the best dividend. Equip your staff with the right knowledge and skills to deliver the best service that will serve your purpose. Improvement, change, and innovation have become a daily occurrence, hence continuous learning is a necessity. Train your staff to meet the demands and standards. A satisfied customer pays high returns on that investment.
7. Employers should pay their staff well. Sometimes the attitude of employees are a reflection of how they are treated. The pain, anger, and frustration of poor conditions of service is transferred to innocent customers and gradually collapse the business. Your employees are your first customers, treat them right and your business will succeed. Even if you cannot pay much, make them comfortable and look forward to coming to work daily. People will have passion for a job but money keeps them in business.
8. Employ skilled and qualified personnel. Don’t compromise on the quality of people you employ to deliver your services even because you don’t have money. Whatever you put in your business, you will reap it so if you employ unqualified personnel, you will reap unqualified service. Never offer a job to a relative or friend as a reward when they do not qualify. It is business you are running not charity, your customers are at stake.
9. Innovate to serve better. There are changing trends, improved customer taste, and demand for convenience, hence “this is how we’ve always done it” does not work anymore- it will collapse the business. Where necessary, improve to serve the customer better. Be customer focused, they are an asset you wouldn’t want to lose and they are valuable even the child that buys from your shop.
10. Ask for feedback. Always look for ways to improve your services, keep your customers, and acquire news ones. Let it be your goal to provide excellent service- ask customers if they are enjoying your services, know where you are failing, and areas you can do better and use the feedback to improve.
Excellent customer service is a must. Don’t kill your business with your attitude and blame others for it. Any customer service advice for business owners?