At the end of the day, you’re in business to help your customers. Here are four ways to do that.
You should take pride in your work. However, you shouldn’t be so proud to think you can do no wrong. The customer may not always be right, but they are spending money or your product or service. This exchange means there should be a certain quality to your customer service and appreciation in your interaction. No one owes you anything, so you shouldn’t feel entitled to patronage. If you mismanage your company or you let quality slip, then you will lose customers and money. Remember how you feel when you’re a customer and treat your customers accordingly. If a proprietor treated you poorly, what are the odds of you returning to that establishment?
Eliminate Distractions and Inefficient Processes
Allow yourself the opportunity to focus on each customer. Outsource what you can and hire someone to answer the phones, greet customers, take orders, or other menial tasks. Have systems in place so each person can focus on the duty at hand. Doing so will increase efficiency and minimize bottlenecks.
If you play music in your establishment, lower the volume, so no one needs to shout to be heard or lean in to listen. Use a headset when answering the phone to minimize background noise, free your hands, and reduce cross-talk. Eliminating distractions will create a connection with your customers, so they’ll want to engage with you and your brand.
If you work from home, have a quiet space to work. Perhaps you only work when the kids are occupied or asleep. Find the schedule that works for your business and your home life.
Listen to Feedback
Allow customers to provide feedback and listen to what they have to say. When you’re open-minded, you’re displaying humility, and customers will appreciate it. You may be able to address a small issue immediately with a quick remedy without losing a customer. Any more critical questions or comments may require changes to your standard operating procedures to avoid the problem in the future. All of these situations are okay and a part of running a business.
When dealing with a problematic customer, don’t dismiss what they’re saying. Listen patiently and offer a solution. Don’t escalate the situation or take it personally. It probably has nothing to do with you, but you can make the situation better by paying attention.
Plan for the Inevitable
When you’ve been in business for some time, you will learn your trends. With that information, you are equipped to plan for the expected. For example, you know you have a rush at 3 PM every day, so you ensure you have adequate staff and plenty of inventory during that time. If you know you will receive more orders during Black Friday, increase your servers and bandwidth so your site won’t crash. If you give your customers a number to call for issues, make sure you have call waiting or multiple lines. These are just small things to pay attention to that can improve your customer service before you engage with the customer.
Did you try this in your business? Let me know in the comments.
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Flanice Lewis is a DC-based financial literacy advocate, blogger, traveler and breast cancer survivor. In addition to having bought her first house at 23, she is a graduate of Howard University and The University of Virginia. You can follow her on Instagram or read her work here on critical financial.