A business is nothing without customers. This is true from startups to Fortune 500 companies. However, as a small business looking to grow, having a loyal customer base is vital. When building a brand, it’s not always enough to have a great product – you need to have great customer service, too.
Customer service is one of those things that can make or break a company. Stories of both good and bad customer service experiences frequently go viral. When asked, 32% of customers said they would stop doing business with a brand after only one bad experience. This is why you need to take steps to keep your customers happy.
Build a Rapport with Your Customers
When you have a small customer base, it’s important to make them feel like you know them on a personal level. You don’t have to know the life story of everyone who walks through your door, but in the wake of giant, faceless corporations, a personal touch can build great customer relationships.
When someone comes into your shop, build a rapport with them. Chat with them about their interests, even if they aren’t directly connected to your product. A personal, friendly conversation could put your customer in the right mood to make a purchase.
Support Customers on Multiple Platforms
You might think it’s easier to only have customers contact you with questions or problems though one platform. It’s streamlined and easy, right? Unfortunately, this strategy is not particularly accessible or user friendly.
Every platform has its drawbacks. If you’re only offering support over the phone, that’s not very accessible for customers with hearing issues. Email is good but spam filters might prevent them from getting the answers they’re looking for. There’s social media, but not everyone has an account on Instagram or Facebook. Having multiple channels to contact you through gives customers options to reach out in a way that works for them. They’ll feel like you want to hear from them.
Be Responsive and Empathetic
On this note, be responsive. Have a team dedicated to answering customer questions on their various platforms. The sooner these questions are answered, the happier each customer will be. This is especially important for customers who have a negative experience, as quickly de-escalating is critical.
This is where empathy comes in. It’s impossible to make every customer experience positive, but being empathetic when a customer complains could very well turn their opinion around. Put yourself in their shoes and tell them you understand where they’re coming from. Even if the problem can’t be completely resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, an empathetic customer service response will generally improve the customer’s opinion of your company.
Listen to Customer Feedback
Customer feedback can be an amazing resource that will keep your company heading in the right direction. Surveys and reviews are a goldmine in terms of finding out what your employees are doing well or need improvement on, why a particular product is popular, and more.
Offer incentives for people to send feedback. This could be entering people into a gift card raffle, discount codes, or points they can use towards future purchases. Giving customers incentives to share their thoughts will get you way more feedback.
Keep Your Website Informative
Your website should be the customer’s first stop for information, whether on your company or product. You should anticipate what questions a customer might have and answer them before they’re asked. An FAQ section on your website does a great job with this.
This is also where records of customer feedback can be great, as you’ll be able to review what are common questions customers might have. If you can answer them before they even ask, they’ll feel more confident purchasing from you.
Good customer service is what keeps people coming back to your business. When they feel they can talk to someone who is informative, responsive, and friendly, there’s a better chance to build brand loyalty.