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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 3

with Alexi Boyd from Boyd Office Management Services

Date: 29th 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 3 – what the experts say

  • There are some interesting articles online about the importance of customer service in small business and here are some of their tips: I particularly liked com take on it.
    • Customers like it when more than one team member is looking after them. Particularly when things go wrong you can really impress them if more than one person is across their issue and is trying to help.
    • Empower your employees who deliver great customer service. Now this brings me back to tour camper trailer experience this week. This guy was fantastic and also knew the holes in the company’s customer service ethos – and was trying to fix them. He even encouraged me to complain about the other staff member because he knew that guy was dragging the company down. I think he should be rewarded for that!
    • A big one – hold back from reactive behavior. If it’s a team issue then discuss how you’re going to tackle it first – don’t allow one team member to make it worse by reacting badly so there’s more of a problem to fix. Oh, and just because you’re tackling it as a team doesn’t mean you can take your time getting back to your client!
  • Flying Solo also adds
    • that when all else fails it is actually ok to fire your client. Some people can be really unreasonable. They will never be happy and its important to cut your ties with that person so they don’t continue to make matters worse. BUT make sure you do it sensitively. Hell hath no fury and all that.
    • They also add you shouldn’t treat your customers like a hot potato. Now, big telcos are notorious for this but small business can sometimes do it too – make sure the right person (preferably as senior as possible) is dealing with it, and if its’ someone that’s not you the business owner make sure you’re kept informed about what’s happening and how it was resolved.

Part 4 – Tips on gathering data regarding customer satisfaction:

  • Survey Monkey
  • Ask for testimonials! Be specific on what you’re asking feedback on
  • Remember nothing is free, if you’re conducting free workshops or presentations ask for feedback and that forms the start of testimonials
  • USE those comments across social media, your website, print ads and even at the bottom of your email

Share your experiences with your other small business colleagues online?