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Small Biz Matters – a half hour program each week where you can work 

ON your business rather than IN it.

Why is Customer Service important for Small Business Pt 1

with Alexi Boyd from Boyd Office Management Services

Date: 15th June 2015

INTRO – I thought of this topic over the next couple of weeks after my own experience this week: Since we picked up our Camper Trailer from the manufacturer today – had to drive 1½hrs to get there and let’s just say there were good bits and bad bits of their customer service aspects. At the end of the day we left happy but as a process driven person I saw gaping holes in their customer service process (but happily not in their demeanor which is so important) and although they made some mistakes these were handled with apologies so we felt like we were still getting good customer service.

My listeners are Small Businesses so I certainly don’t need to talk to you about the importance of Customer Service. In fact, you live, eat and breathe it as small businesses. Its our strength, its what separates us from the “big guys” right?

But there are reasons for it to be breaking us too. It’s the constant availability which isn’t healthy. Its us answering emails, texts and even calls from our clients on weekends and all-hours. But on the flip side good customer service breeds loyalty and often the customers who complain, and have their grievances solved can be your biggest advocates. And by the way, no matter what your business is, just like youre the IT guy, the receptionist and the accounts person whether you like it or not as the small business owner you’re in customer service too!

Part 1 – The Small Business Niche : Customer service

  • At the coal face; the owner is the business deliverer so as small businesses we ARE the customer service experts. We don’t hide behind a survey, a 1800 customer service number or even a badge – we are the staff member who accepts, deals with and solves the customer service issues. So we need to make sure you have strategy to deal with it. I believe it comes down to being prepared and having a plan – or better still a process. We’ll talk more about that next week but I wanted to open the conversation by making sure that the face to face
  • The other frontline issue is online customer service. Many small businesses choose not to go online simply because they don’t want to deal with the negative feedback (often left by competitors) and lets face it, if you don’t have Facebook presence or a listing on places like True Local you don’t have to deal with the negative feedback – but then again you miss out on the praise plus no one can find you. Plus you can learn a lot about a business by the way others respond to them online. It is an excellent boost if you can get clients to leave a positive testimonial on your facebook page, for example. Its also really important that you pay attention to what is happening on those social media sites. Remember they are a big driver of traffic to your website so you need to be conscious of what goes on there
    • An example is a friend of mine had a negative comment left on True Local which she is aware came from a competitor. Problem is you can’t have it removed, even if you know it is a competitor who left it. The stress of knowing this comment was online about her was horrible let alone the fact that as a successful business owner she didn’t have time to fight the good fight
    • Be wary of the fact that many web developers will include in your “package” your presence on these websites. It certainly helps to build you online presence and SEO and traffic to your website but make sure you’re very clear on which ones you want to be listed on. Because as the example above shows it can also be very damaging. You wouldn’t advertise in the local paper if it had a bad reputation itself so ensure you don’t make the same mistake with online