Great customer service is at the core of every successful business. After all, it’s not like you’re alone out there – there are many companies selling similar products and services. Some are successful, others are not. Setting aside low quality products, what makes the difference between a company with lots of loyal customers and a company which barely survives on the market is the way in which they treat their clients.
Customer service is not something reserved for brick-and-mortar stores and large companies, but to home based businesses, as well. In fact, small business owners should strive even harder than other companies to provide stellar customer service, in compensation for their smaller marketing budgets, loyalty programs, and advertising.
Today we will talk about the most basic rules of customer service, which you should use in every aspect of dealing with your prospects and clients:
1. Listen to Your Customers
In every kind of communication, the golden rule is that it should be a two-way process. Social media and email interactions are not an endless monologue where you tell people how great your products are and how well you treat your customers. You have to keep your attention focused on what they are actually saying to you. Maybe they are not sold on your claims, and you will have to prove them. Maybe they have questions, and you have to answer them. Maybe the entire trend of the discussion is moving in an unexpected direction, and you need to adapt your communications to this new angle.
2. Do Not Make Promises You Cannot Keep
Small businesses keep their eyes on their competition just as closely as large corporations. When they see that their competitor offers something extra or different, they use this insight to up the ante and deliver something better. That is absolutely no problem if you can deliver on your promises. But remember that the principle “fake it until you make it” does not work when you deal with customer service. You need to be in a position to give your customers what you promise them, or their faith in you will waver. Either put your actions where your words are, or don’t attempt to mislead people with false promises.
The online world is an unforgiving jungle, where false promises are kept, reshared, and commented on forever, ruining your reputation beyond repair.
3. Be Helpful, Even If It Doesn’t Bring You an Immediate Profit
When people ask questions, even if they are not directly related to a potential sale, take the time to answer them, and be helpful. This is the simplest and most direct way of building trust with your prospects and encouraging them to become clients. On many occasions, you will find that people who ask you unrelated questions on social media come back later on and make a purchase. Faced with various options, they will pick the business who took the time to help them without expecting an immediate profit out of that interaction.
4. Go The Extra Mile in Supplying Your Products and Services
It is simple to deliver basic services such as computer troubleshooting. What makes the difference between any IT specialist out there and successful freelancers and home based business owners is a small how-to guide enclosed with a Thank You message. This is helpful in that it empowers people to keep their computers safe from viruses, as well as being very unique and thoughtful. This is not an expensive extra to prepare and offer, but it will mean a lot to your customers and keep them loyal to your business.
5. Deal with Complaints
Complaints are the part of doing business which no one wants to deal with. But you have to, quite simply, if you want to keep your customers, and generate new ones. Just take a look at the storm of angry tweets when any given company makes a mistake. They can still be viewed years after the unfortunate event. Likewise, you can also see how the company dealt with them. Be honest: if you saw no response to a large number of complaints in the past, would you do business with that company now? Probably not. The same judgment is applied to your own home based business as well. Be proactive – deal with your complaints as quickly and as humbly as possible.
Most of these rules pertain to basic common sense. You are probably applying them already. But it is always good to go over this sort of thing, once in a while, and find ways in which you can improve the manner you deal with your customers.