Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The One Service Businesses Should Never Stop: Customer Service

The success of any business depends on how well customers are treated. No business is successful without customers who care about it, so it is highly important that you care about them. Lets delve right into the one service businesses should never stop, Customer Service.

Businesses may use sales, promotions, and/or contests to drive traffic to their site or store, but without great customer service, the longevity of that business will be little to none. Every business needs new customers to continue it's growth, but returning customers is what keeps businesses running longer.
Customer Service is important in how people judge your business and also in how customers talk about it. Word of mouth, will let others (potential customers) know about your business and the main goal is to have what customers say, be positive. Great Customer Service, not only will help in keeping customers, but will also save your business time and money.

6 Ways To Provide Great Customer Service:
Here are 6 tips on how to keep your customers happy and your business being successful.

Keep Promises Made To Customers: When you tell a customer you are going to ship out their order by a certain date or you're going to have a sale on a certain product within your store, etc., make sure you stick to it. Customers rely on your words to be followed up by actions. If for any reason you cannot stick to what you say, then don't say it. Think before you commit!

Communicate With Customers: If your business is changing, moving, or going to be doing something different with the way it does it's business, be sure to communicate it to your customers. Treat every customer with importance and show it. Customers will only be loyal to those who are loyal to them, so it is crucial that you keep the communication open and on-going. This way, customers feel included in your business and will want to continue being a part of it, even through-out the changes.

Listen To What Your Customers Are Saying: Customers will tell you how they feel about a certain product, service, etc. Be sure your business is not just hearing them, but listening to them. Ignoring what your customers are saying, will not only frustrate them, but will eventually make them leave your business. Take time to address what your customers are saying. Give them options in how problems can be solved and let them know you want to help them in every way possible. It is always important that you take the time to respond!

Respond/Reply To Customers: When customers reach out to your business via phone, email, etc. to ask questions and/or to find out additional information, answer them. Most people are not satisfied with an automated service. Customers want to speak with an actual person who is more than willing to help. With that said, if your business does use an answering machine or email service, call customers back and/or respond via email in a timely manner. Customers are expecting a response and are usually not happy until one is received. Making customers wait for an answer, will not only irritate them, but can even make them irate. Every message, customer, and question matters!

Deal With Customer Complaints: Complaints can be hard to deal with and it is impossible to please everyone, but not dealing with them, is more harmful to your business. Evaluate each complaint to see if anything can be done to change the way in which that specific customer feels. Try not to become defensive when addressing possible solutions in helping that customer with his or her complaint. Customers feelings need to be recognized and addressed. However, sometimes customers may not hear the answer they were hoping for, but your business can always try to continue making customers feel important by offering something extra. If you can't find a solution to a problem, creating one might be the only viable option (Example: Customer is complaining that their purchase shipped out late and didn't arrive when it was suppose to and your business finds that this information is correct, try to rectify it). Give your customer a discount on their next purchase, a coupon, etc. Letting the customer know you've listened, tried, and still care can go a long way!

Treat Employees and Co-Workers Well: Take time to thank those you work with and/or who works for you. It is important to not only make sure that those who work for you are fully educated about your business, but are treated well too. With these two combined, employees will be loyal to your business and will have the drive to want it to succeed. Everyone likes to know they are appreciated for their work efforts and to be recognized for it. This inevitably boosts the business' morale, which is always good for business!

The key factor in sustaining any business, is to show customers they are important. In keeping promises, communicating, responding, and in showing appreciation, will help in keeping customers happy and coming back for more. Treat your customers well and they will do the same for your business.

Written By: Amanda Ryan, Creature Creations, Personalized Photo Gifts

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