Efficient customer service is one of the most powerful factors that can contribute to the success of a business. Starbucks, one of the most successful companies in the world today, has made it big in a very competitive industry because of its one-of-a-kind customer service that keeps people coming back, not just for coffee, but for the overall “Starbucks experience.” The coffee company’s emphasis on providing excellent service to their customers has given them great returns over the years.
If you are starting your own business, you too can benefit from giving your customers satisfactory assistance and service. So, how do you do this? The secret is being able to connect with your customers. Establishing a connection with your customers gives you an opportunity to personally relate with them and make them feel important. There are many ways you can do this. The following are some practical tips you can implement in your business establishment to help you improve your business’ customer service.
- Give them a warm welcome. There’s nothing like a friendly greeting that makes customers feel instantly comfortable as they enter your store. It makes them feel at ease, and before they even get the chance to explore your store, they will think to themselves, “This is a nice place.” Often, how customers are treated upon entering an establishment determines how long they will stay inside. Treat them with indifference and they will be gone as quickly as they came in; be friendly to them and they will stay a while, explore your store, and perhaps buy a few items. Even if your store visitors don’t buy anything, they will likely tell their friends about a “nice new store” they found, and all because you made them feel welcome. While first impressions do not always last, they certainly have a big impact, and creating a good first impression on your visitors will go a long way.
- Be flexible to their requests and needs. Flexibility is an important ingredient in customer service. When it comes to catering to your customers’ needs, never operate in a box. Be prepared to adjust your services to your customers’ preferences and try to meet their requests as long as these are within reason. Throwing in a little extra favor for them will put a smile on their faces for sure, and they will go home satisfied, not just with their purchase but also with your accommodating service.
- Answer those phones. Isn’t it frustrating when you call a business hotline and you end up having to endure several minutes of listening to the music on hold because your call can’t get through? Well, your customers feel the same way when they call your business phone numbers and no one is available to take their call. Be sure to install an efficient phone system for your business, and station a well-trained staff to attend to calls. Ideally, when someone calls your hotline, the call must be answered after the second ring, and the caller should not be put on hold longer than 30 seconds. Your staff must be as friendly and helpful over the phone as they are in person so that the company can keep a consistent reputation with its customers.
- Finally, respond to emails promptly. Sending a prompt reply to clients’ emails helps you establish a good connection with them. The best practice would be to send them a reply within the same hour. If you can’t do this, then at least send a reply within the day, during business hours if possible. Clients can tell if you are neglecting them, and sending a quick reply to their email is one way to let them know that they matter. Be sure to maintain excellent customer service by sending out emails that are free of grammatical and typographical errors.