SCORE Small Business Blog

The Human Factor: How Customer Service Can Make or Break Your Business
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So often today when we read about small business success, the focus is on social media, websites, mobile marketing—you know, trendy technology. And yes, those things do matter to your business, and you should be using them. But there’s something else you can’t forget: the human factor.

Here’s an example of what I mean. The other day, I took my car to get a smog check—something I look forward to about as much as a root canal. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted by one of the friendliest employees I’ve ever met. This guy was so funny, energetic and efficient, he made the whole experience a pleasure—or at least, as enjoyable as going to the auto repair shop can be. (Imagine finding Emeril Lagasse working behind a counter? That’s what it was like.) I was stunned when I found out he wasn’t the business owner—that’s how strong his enthusiasm for the place was.

Are your frontline employees delivering that kind of stellar service? Whether you answer yes or no can make or break your business. And if you want your team to perform, you’ve got to give them what they need to do so. Here are some factors to consider:

Training: Do your people get the training they need? Do you have an employee manual explaining how things are done? When you implement new technologies or make changes to your procedures, do you make sure everyone is up to speed?

Equipment: Speaking of technology, it’s crucial to ensure your team has the tech tools they need to do the best possible job. For instance, if you have delivery drivers, are they still struggling with map books or do you provide them with GPS devices or apps? In the office, are your systems integrated and up-to-date so everyone is on the same page?

Recognition: That standout employee I mentioned at the smog-check shop may have been born enthusiastic and friendly, but if he hadn’t received any recognition for it at work, you bet his attitude would have changed (or he would have left for someplace where he was valued). Customer service is hard work, so reward and recognize your team for a job well done.

Empowerment: Customers are demanding and today, they want customized solutions. They don’t want to hear “That’s not our policy” or “You’ll need to speak to a manager.” Instead, empower your people to do whatever it takes (within reason, of course) to satisfy the customer. Then live up to your words by standing behind the employees’ decisions.

Need help evaluating your customer service and ways to improve it? Your SCORE mentor can assist. Visit the SCORE website 24/7 for free counseling from a mentor today.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship.
www.growbizmedia.com | @rieva | More from Rieva

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Discussion (2) Comment


  1. deepchandVisitor

    in some cases, it may be necessary for a small business or for an entrepreneur to use an automated service.
    mtech computer


  2. angelinvestorVisitor

    In some cases, it may be necessary for a small business or for an entrepreneur to use an automated service, but in those cases it would be ideal and customer service -friendly to lend a human touch to it all by a follow-up written note, or a courtesy call.

 

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