SCORE Small Business Blog

Customer Service: New Ways of Earning Business
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Perfect Your Customer Service

InterviewThis is a new era for business. The future will prove which trends will hold and which will fall by the wayside as no longer relevant. As with all economic transitions, a recession is painful, but these things go in cycles and are necessary. As I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, having a long-term strategic plan is critical to business growth and sustainability. But even in the wake of the worst economic implosion we’ve seen in modern American history, there will be certain practices and principals that hold as both tried and most importantly true.

Excellent and authentic customer service is one of them. Women are uniquely positioned to emerge as a leading demographic based on our natural tendency to approach business from all angles. Our business strategy begins with the desire to help first and to make a profit second. We are fulfilled knowing we’re positively impacting our environment and people’s lives. That can only be done with a desire to take “good care” of our customers –the type of customer service that leads to loyalty and evangelism.

Particularly today, we are seeing a culture of constant contact and accountability. Thanks to massively infectious social media tools such as Twitter, you just can’t afford to deliver a negative customer experience. Large Fortune 500 companies are following social media tools and trends. They know, you simply can’t afford to have one customer complaint or the company ends up with the reputation of having a product as bad as having the avian or swine flu. The same goes for small businesses. The difference between make or break can be the one customer who has an incredible experience or the worst one with you – and then tells the whole world about it.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when evaluating your customer service approach:

  1. The customer is not always right–but that doesn’t matter. A happy customer is a repeat customer. Period.
  2. Think about cost as an issue related to value. Customers always like to feel like they’re getting a lot of bang for their buck.
  3.  Do more–after the fact. Sometimes in the world of selling, your competitive advantage is not in what you’re selling, but what comes with it. One of my favorite restaurants in LA serves excellent (expensive) food, but that doesn’t make them different from a lot of places. What DOES set them apart is the chocolate chip brioche they give you after you’ve finished your dinner as a way to extend the dining experience into the next day. Brilliant.
  4. Leave the door open. Sometimes, a customer is intent on being dissatisfied. I use the rule of three. I’ll extend an olive branch three times as a way to make amends with an unhappy customer. Beyond that, I just leave the door open in case he changes his mind and welcome him with open arms when he does.

Jane Pak, Guest Blogger
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Discussion (1) Comment

  1. This is is a great tip… “Leave the door open. Sometimes, a customer is intent on being dissatisfied. I use the rule of three. I’ll extend an olive branch three times as a way to make amends with an unhappy customer. Beyond that, I just leave the door open in case he changes his mind and welcome him with open arms when he does.”

    It’s often in people’s nature to try and please everyone, when in fact, it’s just not possible. Learning when to let go is vital.

    Amanda
    Coaching for career, business and personal success

 

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