Customer expectations continue to rise as more people expect an instant response to their inquiries. Small business owners feel the pressure to quickly answer customers’ questions and respond to their concerns. They worry that if they don’t respond immediately to customer issues it will result in a bad review online. They are also concerned that potential patrons will move on to a competitor if they don’t hear back quickly to questions about products.
As a small business owner, you want to do everything in your power to respond in a timely manner to your customers. The lack of resources, however, can make that difficult. It’s also important to respond in a pleasant and helpful way. Listed below are some keys to help you better respond to your customers’ needs.
Take Advantage of Technology
For starters, set up a Facebook page that tracks customer comments. Assign staff to check the comments regularly and respond to negative comments in a professional and helpful manner. If someone complains about a product, for example, you want potential customers to know that you have resolved problems promptly and completely. Don’t forget about the positive feedback either. Acknowledge a happy customer and be appreciative that they took the time to post their satisfaction. Believe it or not, it’s as critical to collect and record positive feedback as it is to keep track of complaints. Positive feedback is extremely useful to help you grow your business.
Recent advancements in technology allow the small business owner to rely on customer service software to easily automate the whole process. A live chat service is an especially effective way to handle customer service tasks. By setting up an online portal, the service can answer any of the chats that you request. It can also help you prioritize calls from customers and improve the ability for customers to self-serve online.
With a live chat service, you will likely see your sales inquiries increase as well. When you answer customers’ questions in real-time, it goes a long way toward gaining interest in your products. Since word-of-mouth promotion is crucial for any business, quick response to your customers’ needs will increase the chances that they share their experiences with their friends. This entices new customers and encourages repeat business to your website.
Creating a frequently asked questions tab on your webpage helps customers find quick answers to common questions. It also reduces the number of calls you receive from people looking for answers to basic questions.
If you sell products directly to consumers, you should consider offering an option for them to order products online without speaking to a sales person.
Listen to Your Customers
Listening is a lost art, but it is essential for good customer service. You must remember to really listen to your customers so that you understand exactly what they are saying. Ask your patrons what you can do to serve them better in the future. Consider developing a customer survey and email it to them after they have completed a sale. This type of feedback is important to improve your business.
When you listen to your customers, you can better direct them to the resources that best meet their needs. Make sure you also teach your employees how to answer questions from customers. It’s a good idea to create a list of answers to some common questions. This helps your employees stay consistent with their answers. It also gives them more confidence in knowing that their answers are helpful.
Set goals for your staff regarding their response time to customer questions, and share these goals with the team. You don’t want to intimidate anyone or make them feel inadequate, but setting goals helps everyone feel like they are contributing to the success of the company.
Stay Positive in Your Responses
Speed is a key ingredient to excellent customer service, but if you rush a customer they may feel like you don’t really care. It’s also hard to stay positive when someone on the phone is angry. The old adage, “the customer is always right,” may help remind your employees not to take complaints personally.
Technology can greatly benefit your response to customer issues, but nothing can take the place of human contact.
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