How can small business owners compete in today’s customer focused environment? Customer Service. Not just any type of service, but by placing a great emphasis on the “customer experience.” The “Customer Experience” is one of the key components to building a reputable brand. “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.” (McKinse).
To better understand The Customer Service Experience and how it affects your business, first, let’s define what it exactly it is. The Customer Service Experience is the customer’s perception in relation to the level of service they’ve received from a company. Both good and bad customer service, can either make or “break” a company. "News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience". (White House Office of Consumer Affairs.)
As a small business owner, you can earn your place in today’s customer service driven market, by incorporating a Customer Service strategy that your competitors can’t beat! When most companies are offering either the same products or variations of it, along with pricing, what makes each company differ, is the level of service provided to their consumers. Customers will go elsewhere to pay for the same exact product, or even more, just because of the company's customer service. Investing in customer service will help you retain customers, build customer loyalty, increase sales and profits.
LOOK FOR AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT
Think about the areas of your business in which you can improve upon, in order to enhance your Customer's Experience. For example, do your customers often complain about shipping costs? If so, is there a way to either reduce the cost or offer something in exchange for paying shipping? Can you add an additional mail carrier service for those who would opt to pay a lesser amount for Fed Ex VS UPS? Customer feedback is a great way to learn about what your customers want, in order to improve their buying experience.
Great Customer Service, starts from within the organization. Leadership helps cultivate the mindset of exceptional service. One of the key factors in building a reputable brand is the company's culture. If you build a foundation on basic principles such as respect, transparency and commitment, it will translate into every area of your business, including the relationship with your customers.
GET YOUR TEAM INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS
Prior to launching your products or services, it is imperative to the success of your business to ensure that every member of your team is not only knowledgeable about your products and services in which you provide, but more importantly, that they're passionate about delivering exceptional service.
Get your team involved in the process, from creation, implementation, to empowering each member to make decisions that will enhance both the customer experience and adheres to the process that's in place.
CREATE A CUSTOMER SERVICE MODEL
Next, create a Customer Service model. A Good Customer Service Model focuses on increasing customer satisfaction, establishes processes for escalations, identifying customer pain points through feedback, and resolving customer complaints. This requires a continuous update of policies and procedures in order to meet your customer’s needs. Remember, building a reputable brand requires team work, great products and exceptional service!
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