By Dwayne Charrington

Anybody who has run a small business knows it’s not an easy task. Whichever industry you are in, finding ways to make your services or products stand out is something you need to do every day. While your business environment will always be competitive, one of the ways to stay on top of your game is to provide your clients with excellent customer service.

Customer service is one of the major business objectives without achieving which you cannot imagine to grow your business, whether big or small. Here are a few of the practical ways that are helpful to scale your customer service.

1. Understand What Your Customers Need

The customer service you provide to your clients can only make sense to them if it meets their needs. Customer needs are dynamic; they change all the time, and the major changes may be personal. See and treat customers as individuals. Identify tastes and preferences unique to individual customers. As your products and services match the changing needs of customers, you serve them they way they want from you.

As you understand your customers’ unique needs, focus on addressing them so that your business can benefit. Use this knowledge to improve or even customize your products and services. In doing so, you will be shifting your focus from just transacting to building relationships with customers. Position your small business in a way that you can anticipate things that work for customers, initiate sales proactively, and create meaningful experiences for customers.

2. Be Knowledgeable About Your Products/Services

When it comes to offering excellent customer service, it is critical to bear a good understanding of your products and services. Ensure your operators are well-trained to have a comprehensive knowledge of how your services and products work. They thus interact with customers confidently and resolve their problems faster.

Make a note of the frequently asked questions, so that your operators don’t have to answer the same question time and again. You can create a knowledge base of these frequently asked questions. Ensure all customer-facing staff in your small business articulately responds to customers. Only then can operators offer excellent support to your customers. Make your small business trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.

3. Hire Friendly Operators

Excellent customer service begins with a smile. Your customers expect value, care, and a quick solution from you, as they place their requests or make a query. In one-on-one interactions, the first thing your customers should experience when they interact with your operators is friendly communication. It is well said, “You can hear a smile. When you do, you’ll smile back.” Callers should be able to sense it through your operator’s voice whenever they make inquiries via phone.

4. Technologically Equip Your Operators

Your operators need to understand the value that customers bring to your business. Invest in providing them with customer support tools, like help desk software. These tools are indispensable to provide quality customer service. Train them on how to talk and interact with customers. They should also learn how to respond to and solve customer problems no time.

In order to do this effectively, managers monitor the service ratings of operators and train them where they lack in delivering support. Reporting and analytics feature of the help desk software enables managers to access service ratings and how customers’ service experience improves over a period of time.

Besides, effective listening is a way to winning over your customers. While listening to your customers, your operators should be able to gauge the verbal and the non-verbal communication. During training, empower your customer support team to pick up cues that may hint unhappiness or dissatisfaction on the part of the customers.

5. Capture Customer Feedback

Customers will always have something positive or negative to say about your products and services. When reviewed and used to advantage, this feedback will be highly beneficial to your small business. Further, pay attention to complaints, suggestions, and queries that customers make during purchase.

Consider using feedback forms or customer surveys to capture responses of your customers. After receiving feedback, use it to improve your products and services. Make an effort to review customer feedback regularly, find areas that should be improved, and then make changes to your business in line with your customer needs.

6. Respond to Customer Queries

One of the reasons small businesses lose clients is their failure to respond to customers who reach out to them for help. Customers contact businesses for a variety of reasons, right from seeking help to resolving an issue or simply finding more about your products and services. Providing quick responses to customers is critical for the survival and growth of any small business. It’s important to respond fast so that your customers don’t begin hunting for an alternative.

Your customer support team can respond to customers faster only when you have an effective help desk ticketing system in place, that acts more like an issue tracker. As this tool enables you to automate your customer support processes, none of your customer queries go unattended.

You can also monitor the performance of your customer support agents, manage, and track customer queries that stream from different communication channels, and resolve them faster to guarantee a delightful customer service experience.

When companies engage and respond to customer service requests on social media channels, customers, on an average, spend about 20-40 percent more with that company.

7. Respect Your Customers’ Time

On some occasions, serving your customers will become an emotional affair. When this happens, you and any other person who handles customer service related tasks, need to be courteous and respectful. Respect for customers will also reflect in the way you utilize their time.

Your customers value their time the same way you value yours, so don’t waste theirs on queues or information search. Instead, provide an easy way for them to reach you and remove any communication barriers. Know the communication channels that your customers want to use and train your customer service teams to manage interactions on those channels fast and efficiently.

Consider integrating new technology and social media in your customer service strategy to keep up with the dynamic tech world. Whatever channel you decide to use for customer support, ensure it helps to improve the overall service experience.

The Bottom Line

Be in constant touch with your customers. Value customers and acknowledge their emails. Resolve their queries on time and don’t keep them hanging. 12 percent of customer service managers focus on responding to their customers faster.

Equip your customers with a knowledge base so that customers can often help themselves. Capture their feedback and service ratings to train your operators. Train operators in a way that they have all the requisite knowledge on the product/service and work towards their soft skills too. Only then can you deliver exceptional services to customers.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos