Managing The Customer Service Needs Of Your Small Business

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When it comes to growing your small business, your customers need to come at the heart of everything that you do. Without your customers, you would not have a business. You need to do everything that you possibly can in order to keep them on your side and build up repeat custom. This can be a tricky task, and if you are a new business, you will no doubt have some teething troubles while you find your feet and learn to deal with the customers that you are attracting to your business. 

 

The Dangers Of Poor Service In The Social Media Age

 

The worry about the reputation of your business being affected by poor word of mouth reviews has never been such a pressing issue as it is in the age of the social media site. We are all joined to our smartphones, and Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all heavily used by billions of people. They have become personalized targetted advertising spaces, and over the years they have attracted businesses to them so that they can engage with their customers. Using sites like these to promote your brand can have an amazing effect. However, get something wrong and you will suddenly find out that people can be very unforgiving in their comments on your page. 

 

Social media has a very particular effect on users, and it has the potential to prompt some very emotional reactions that can turn into unfiltered anger and frustration. Soon, others may join in, and slight issues that one person may have faced will suddenly become much bigger. 

 

Having a set of negative comments on your social media can be very detrimental. Keeping your business page positive and professional is vital, and with that in mind, it is important that you do everything in your power to keep your customers happy at all times.  

 

Finding The Right Balance: Managing Expectations

 

If you are a small business, you will only have limited resources. It can be great to see lots of customers flocking to you with work that you can take on. However, if you provide a service that takes time and effort to deliver, then you need to be realistic before telling any potential new customers that you can take it. Be realistic about what you can or can’t do. If there will be a waiting time because of your pre-existing commitments, then you should make the customer aware of this. Managing the expectations of your customer will save them from getting stressed or angry in the event that you are unable to meet their demands. 

 

Communicate Effectively: Say What You Mean And Mean What You Say

 

Communication is the heart of great customer service. If you are not communicating in a thorough and effective way, then you will be misunderstood and you will fail in delivering excellence. Make sure that you check that your customer has understood what you have said to them. You can do this by having things repeated back to you. Similarly, you need to listen to what your customers are asking you. Get them to reiterate anything that you are not sure of. Again, confirm your understanding by repeating everything back to the customer. 

 

Remember, the onus us on you to get communication right. If you are not getting this right and the relationship between the customer and yourself falls apart, then it will only ever be the business’s fault. Work at building bridges, and even when the misunderstanding is the fault or the customer, remember that you need to help them to not lose face by remaining positive, helpful, and supportive throughout. 

 

Provide The Means Of Contact: A Multi-Platform Approach

 

Your customers will want to get in touch with you in a way that suits them best. Some people may prefer to use the phone as they know that they are talking with someone and they can get an immediate response and know that they are getting the help that they need.

 

Phone support can be a tricky thing to manage when you only have a small business. If the volume of calls is particularly high, and many of the queries are quite basic or are involved with passing on messages to other areas of the business then you may want to use an answering service company. Having your phone calls outsourced to a customer service company will mean that you will be able to get on with running your business safe in the knowledge that your customers are getting to speak with someone. 

 

Social media offers one of the most convenient ways of getting in touch with a business. Customers can drop you a message wherever they are and at any time of the day. This ability to connect instantly can leave many to expect a reply instantly. Unfortunately, this is not the case from your point of view as you may have lots of messages, and emails to respond to. One solution to this problem would be to use chatbot software that can handle simple queries instantly. This will help to lighten the load for yourself, and it will also keep the customer satisfied. 

 

Manage And Target Your Communication: Incentivize And Strategize 

 

Using a ticketing system is a great way of managing all of the communication that you have coming into your business. Having a piece of software assign a ticket to any emails or social media messages will mean that you will have all of your tasks prioritized for you. There will be no more missing important messages because they have been lost in the mix. 

 

Once you have a ticketing system in place you will be able to set targets that you and your team can work towards. These can measure your response times, as well as the customer’s satisfaction of the way that the query was dealt with. Analyzing the data from the ticketing system will also help you to grow your business and develop a strategy for your future.