One of the ways small businesses can outshine the competitors is focusing on delivering excellent customer service. Indeed, your attitude towards your customers defines everything. You can leverage your personal relationships and human touch to make your customers feel special. If you manage to put customer service at the heart of your strategy and show that your company really cares, you will build genuine long-lasting relationship with your customers. It is positive customer experience that sets you apart from the almost identical outlet down the road, and it’s vital for small businesses. If you do it right, it can provide your business with a competitive edge and help you survive in the tough economic climate we live in.
“The customer experience is what is going to run the economy for the next 50 years,” notes Peter Shankman, entrepreneur and author. “I could tell you story after story after story of companies that don’t get it.”
And, according to Shankman, if you adopt even just one of the following four tools of a customer-minded business, “you’ll be 99 percent ahead of the game.”
1. Transparency — If you can understand and embrace that people have an innate desire to be heard and are transparent with your customers, they will become zombie loyalists. They will do your PR for you. They will tell your customers how awesome you are, because here’s the thing — no one believes how awesome you are if you’re the one that has to tell them.
2. Relevancy — Do you know how your audience likes to receive information from you? Have you asked them? The key to achieving relevancy is understanding how your audience likes to get their information, and then giving it to them the way they want it. Don’t assume anything. Take the time to ask your audience questions, listen and respond accordingly. Then they will listen to you, and they will feel invested.
3. Brevity — Brevity should be the third tool in your customer-service arsenal. You only have 2.7 seconds to reach your audience, so you have to become a better communicator. Anyone on your team who is public facing, whether writing content for the web or podcasting, should take a writing class or improv class. It teaches you how to answer the hardest two words in the English language, which are “and then”. If you can answer “and then,” you have my attention.
4. Top of mind — Too many people reach out only when they need something. Instead, reach out to ask others how you can help them.
Ultimately, creating a customer-service savvy company requires considering how each aspect of what you’re doing and creating is going to help people. “The stuff we create can be awesome if we just take a few seconds to listen to the customer first,” said Shankman.