In the current scenario of intense global competition and internet connectivity, the way we do business has undergone a sea change, and small businesses find it increasingly difficult to compete with the large players, who outdo them in terms of investment, manpower, quality of products or service, marketing and in fact in every possible field of operation. How then do small companies survive and make a name for themselves as successful enterprises? Also, the customer now has myriad options available at the click of a finger and it is definitely a buyer’s market. How does one compete against large organizations and stay relevant?
The answer to this question would be in using your small size to the maximum advantage. A small company would have to work that much harder to make the customer service so superlative that the customer keeps coming back for more. As is said, for the customer, it is not what he bought that matters, but how the whole purchase made him feel that is important. The service you received at the time of the business transaction stays in the customer’s mind long after the purchase is made.
Here are 7 tips to make your small company a leader in customer service:
1. Move with passion
Your strength of leading or working in a small company is that it is intimate and you know all the details. You know the people working there, the product, the quality of the product, the story behind the startup, what made you start the business in the first place – all these are there in your mind when you start service. You are all geared up to go and have invested heart and soul, not to mention hard earned money to get the project started. So the kind of passion you exhibit towards your company will be a whiff of fresh air when compared to the jaded, lackluster approach of larger organizations, where the people don’t care for the overall growth and are just concerned with their own benefits. This passion translates into renewed quest for perfection, which would attract customers.
2. Know your customer
There is no greater satisfaction to a customer than knowing that he is recognized and valued. Make it a point to find out the names of the clients who come to your company to do business and make a note of as many details as possible about them – what they bought, their likes and dislikes, details of birthdays and anniversaries, the members of their family – anything that you can glean from their first visit. Address them by name and you will have them floored because the thought that they have been remembered by you will make them feel special. Build a rapport with them and spend time to chat a bit about things other than the immediate task on hand so as to make them feel that this is not just a business relationship.
3. Attend to your clients personally
This is a very crucial step of customer service. Make sure to attend to the customer personally or if that is not possible, at least ensure that you greet the customer, engage in a few seconds of cordial chat and then hand them over to your best staff member to take the sales further. Ensure that you communicate with them through mail or over the phone so that they feel that you are bestowing special attention on them, making them bond with your company, leading the way to repeat business.
4. Listen to your customer and pay heed to customer feedbackOne important aspect of customer service for any organization, more so for a small company, is to listen to customer’s feedback and suggestions. Not only will the customer feel we value their opinion, but also you will get valuable insight into how the customer thinks and feels. Acting on feedback will sometimes pay you rich dividends and business may soar. On the reverse, a small business cannot afford negative publicity and dissatisfied customers usually give bad reviews if they are unhappy with service or products.
5. Be consistent with service and quality
Every time a customer comes in to your place of business, he must encounter the same atmosphere of service and warmth. It doesn’t matter if the customer comes in frequently or once a year or even less frequently. One must remember that referrals and repeat business is what makes or breaks a small company. Also, the experience your customer has when your company is wooing him should be just as consistent once he has converted to customer and every stage should give him the same satisfactory experience. Also, of prime importance, be sure that the service or product you have in the market is of highest quality and worth marketing. Be sure not to make tall promises just to close a deal. Always stick to the truth, thus ensuring trust.
6. Get the best team available
Many a time, small companies try to skimp on money by taking in inexpensive but substandard staff, but instead of helping, bad staff members turn out to be inefficient and useless to the company. Hire right and spend time and effort on training your team to be courteous and professional at all times.
7. The customer is king
Always see the larger picture and avoid getting into egoistical arguments with the customers. Listen carefully and understand his point of view. You are not serving your purpose by proving the customer wrong or proving yourself right.