Customer service is vital to the success of any business, but when you are small, it could be the difference between a year of growth and shutting your doors. A successful business relies on keeping customers happy, and if your customer service team is falling short of the mark, they might just turn to one of your competitors. In order to help make 2014 your most successful business year ever, follow these five customer service resolutions.
Establish a Specific Plan for Customer Service
The most important step to any successful customer service team is establishing a plan. No matter how good your intentions are, if you don’t establish a plan of attack, it will be very difficult to maintain. Deciding in advance how you will handle a problem when it arises will save you time and improve your ability to respond quickly and effectively. This will also empower your employees to feel more confident in their responses to customers, in turn providing a more helpful and rewarding experience. Make sure every team member understands how to execute the new plan, as well as when to delegate to management for assistance, and you are sure to see an improvement in customer satisfaction.
Treat Every Employee Like a Customer Service Representative
Having a great customer service team is vital for the success of small businesses, but you shouldn’t stop there. Giving every one of your employee the ability to interact with customers and answer their questions or concerns will allow for a more personalized experience that is much more rewarding for the customer. Imagine you pose a question about a new shoe design a company offers. If you were to receive a quick response from the shoe designer him or herself, you would have a much more rewarding experience than a response from a customer service representative alone. Every employee has the potential to provide unique expert insights, and giving them the freedom to do so will only improve your customer service.
Pay Attention to Social Media
If you are not paying attention to conversations about your company on social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to improve customer service. As people continue to flock to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, they are no longer sending their comments and concerns directly to companies themselves. Instead, they are sharing their experiences, both good and bad, on social media pages with their friends and families. By keeping an ear towards these comments, you will be able to address problems you may not have even know existed and in a manner that is faster than traditional customer service practices alone. If maintaining a social media presence seems overwhelming, try using social media monitoring tools to stay on top of your customers’ questions, comments, and concerns.
Respond In Real Time
Every moment a customer’s question goes unanswered, the more frustrated they will become. By responding to questions or complaints in real time, you can start a conversation with current and potential customers and keep them from writing you off in the future. It may seem difficult to respond to every inquiry your company receives quickly, but there are a number of great tools small businesses can use to maintain real time conversations with their customers. Whether its through improved social media monitoring, a live chat tool on your website, or simply bringing on additional customer service help, the benefits you will receive from real-time conversations with customers will pay huge dividends in the long run.
Get Closer to Your Customers
The best customer service is achieved through building relationships. As a small business owner, you should always be looking for ways to improve engagement with your customers and make their experience as rewarding as possible. Through the continued expansion of mobile technology and social networks, businesses have the ability to interact with customers in ways unimaginable in the past. Look for ways you can maintain
conversations with your customers and you will begin to build lasting relationships that will help your business grow.
No matter how big or small, every business has room for improvement, especially in customer service. Whether or not you already have an established plan, look for areas where you and your team can improve and strive to fix them. The longterm success of a business relies heavily on its customers satisfaction, and the longer you wait to address their concerns, the more frustrated they will become. Make 2014 your best business year ever by resolving to improve customer service and you will be more likely to celebrate another year of growth with your company.
Scott Daub is president of Forma Technology, a Pompano Beach-based telecommunications company that provides business phone systems to small and midsize companies. Scott has been involved in the telecom industry since 1999. He enjoys sharing his knowledge on the telecommunications industry and writing about the ideas and events that inspire people to take their businesses to the next level.