Having an advantage over your competition is key in today's competitive landscape. The best, and often easiest way to achieve a competitive advantage is with excellent customer service!
When you’re small, every disappointed customer is, potentially, a disaster, and every delighted customer has the potential to provide your business with the most important marketing you could ever receive. -Micah Solomon, Forbes.com
Here are 7 ways to achieve excellent customer service. Read the full article on Forbes.com here.
1. Great customer service starts with putting the customer first. In everything.
You need to put the customer at the center of your universe. Everything decision you make needs to have the customer in mind.
2. Make the most of a small business’s advantages when it comes to customer service.
When you have the chance take that extra step to add a personalized touch. If you have the opportunity, get to know your customers and develop relationships with them.
While a customer may be fine with a corporation like Starbucks asking for their name to put on the cup, they expect you, the small businessperson, to know not only their own name but their personal interests and life details, such as the names, ages, and genders of their kids, or whether they prefer skeet shooting or golf, and the like. -Micah Solomon, Forbes.com
3. Emulate the customer service advantages that large businesses have.
Being a small business isn't an excuse to be unorganized or have a poor website.
4. Talent management.
Good employees are the backbone of any good organization. That couldn't be more important for a small business. Good help is hard to find, and even harder to train and keep around, but it can make all the difference.
5. Empowerment is key.
As an owner of a business, it's your job to train and empower your employees to represent your brand. It will take time at first, but will pay off in the long run if you can trust your employees to handle any situation that may arise.
6. Learn to apologize yourself, and train your employees in how to apologize as well.
Sincerity goes a long ways, with employees and customers alike. A sincere apology also breeds trust and accountability throughout.
7. Customer service training is essential to improve customer service and to make it stick.
If an employee works with customers, then training is essential. Professional athletes continue to train long after they sign with a team, why shouldn't you and your employees? There's always room for improvement.
Once you learn how to deliver superior customer service, you’ll have a competitive advantage that nobody—nobody—is going to be able to take away from you. -Micah Solomon, Forbes.com
Your competitors may mimic your marketing strategy, they might copy your pricing, and on and on, but it's impossible to copy the passion and thoughtfulness required to provide superior customer service.
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