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The Art of Effective Customer Service
  • 18 April 2019
  • Jelani Markus

The Art of Effective Customer Service

Competition is everywhere. As a small business owner, building and maintaining a loyal customer base is one of the most effective ways to stand out in the crowd. Customer retention growth of just 5% can equate to a profit increase of at least 25%. To earn a devoted clientele, and the benefits that come with it, you should become well-versed in the art of effective customer service. Here are a few strategies to help you bolster your fanbase and bulk up your bottom line.

Make it personal

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Give yourself permission to sweat the small stuff. Something as simple as greeting customers and thoughtfully engaging with them can have a profound impact on their overall experience. Think about when your local barista takes the time to remember your name and favorite drink. Do you feel welcome? Do you look forward to visiting again? Personalizing interactions with your customers gives them something familiar and friendly to come back to. Before you know it, those repeat customers can become loyal customers.

Make it a team effort

Even the ultimate hands-on small business owner cannot do it alone. To keep your customer-service train running smoothly, it is important to hire employees that know your company standards and enthusiastically support them. Take the time to make sure potential hires display personality traits that are in line with your business values. There are methods you can use to ensure your hiring choices are the right ones. Have a clear picture of what you want from your employees when it comes to effective customer service, and set your expectations early and often. Holding monthly rehearsals to train for potential customer interactions is a great way to keep you and your employees sharp. Reward those who are actively responsible for increases in your Yelp or Google review scores. Finally, lead by example as you listen, engage and empathize with your employees. Chances are they will mirror those same behaviors when they interact with your customers.

Make time to listen

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Customers want to be heard. Provide them with outlets to express how they feel you are doing, and they will let you know. Create a space for a suggestion box that is easy for customers to locate. The UPS Store® can help you print the signs as well as the suggestion cards. Once you start capturing suggestions, look for similar patterns and opinions that are actionable and can lead to improvements on your end.

Make online a priority

We live in a time when customers can share their opinions about the service they received instantaneously while walking out of the door. Keeping an eye on your online reputation is essential in gauging the effectiveness of your customer service. Designate time every week to read Google and Yelp reviews for your business. Treat positive and negative feedback as opportunities to learn and respond to comments. Asking questions about what customers really liked or how things can get better demonstrates an effort to constantly improve. If you have a social media presence (and hopefully you do), be sure to respond to comments as close to real time as possible.

Every time a new customer walks into your small business, it is another opportunity to create a lasting relationship. When you value your customers and go above and beyond in every interaction, it does not take long to feel the benefits.

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