Customer service is so important wherever you go. Larger businesses are adopting automated services and most times when I phone for customer service I am pushing a number on my telephone keypad and some times I don't even get a real person to talk to. I find it extremely frustrating. How about going to a bank and you can't find a teller because they don't have one? Sorry, but not everything can be handled and taken care of online. I walk into a department store and I don't see anyone who works there let alone any sales associate. They don't even have cashiers in the departments anymore. The checkout is in a centralized location. Mind you, not all department stores are like this. Even if they aren't what is the percentage of finding someone to help you when you need it?
Large companies or businesses really can't afford to not offer good customer service because eventually it will catch up to them, but I know small business owners cannot afford such disservice.
Customer service is vital to your business and reputation online. It's your bread and butter. This is what makes you stand apart from your competitors. Customers make or break your business. Screw it up and you literally tossed your credibility out the window. If you err in business and we all have because we're only human, own up to it and fix it! Pronto! Don't ignore repeated emails or phone calls and then make up excuses because it simply won't fly. Even worse, don't blame your customer. The customer is always right.
Good customer service is making your customers happy so they will become regular customers and purchase or use your service again. Happy customers are your word-of-mouth. They spread positive feedback about you and your business to their friends, business associates and acquaintances.
What is good customer service?
1. Your ability to listen and understand your customer's needs
The worse thing is turning a deaf ear on your customer's wants and needs. It will only upset and frustrate them. Offer what they need and not what they don't want.
2. Your ability to listen and resolve your customer's complaints
Acknowledging and validating your customer's complaints proves you are listening and receptive for a resolution that is fair for both parties.
3. Your ability to be helpful and knowledgeable
Offer suggestions. Most times they are only looking at one aspect. You can help them by providing options or offering additional information.
4. Your ability to not over promise and under deliver
If you can't guarantee it, don't promise it!
5. Your ability to show how much you appreciate your customers
Give something extra like a discount on their next purchase or give a complimentary gift. Even a simple “Thank You" note goes a long way.
If you apply these five tips daily in your business, you will be known as to providing good customer service and you and your business will flourish. So often you hear in many award winning speeches, “. . . and I want to thank my fans/viewers/etc.because without you, I wouldn't be here. "
S McIntyre owns Work At Home Space , a free work at home resource focusing on telecommuting companies, daily telecommute job leads, articles, business resources and other work at home related topics. You can also visit her blog Healthy Perspectives , featuring an array of health topics, nutrition, fitness and recipes for maintaining a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.