Stock Photo by Sean Locke
www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Experts Weigh In: What’s Your Number One Customer Service Tip?

It’s no secret that providing excellent customer service can lead to earning repeat business, and overall success. We wanted to find out what customer service tricks other small businesses were utilizing to keep their customers happy. So we asked our small business experts what their number one customer service tip is. Here’s what they had to say…

 “My favorite customer service tip couldn’t be more obvious or more often ignored. It’s simply this: Make people feel important. Every company in the world knows customers are important, yet, as customers, how important do we feel when dealing with these companies? Often isn’t it more like that infamous phone message, Because we value your business, please continue to hold. With all the talk about customer service, with all the blather about customer centric companies, making people feel important is still the easiest and the cheapest way to differentiate your business from the competition.” –Barry Maher, Speaker, Author, Consultant

“One thing that has been invaluable is sending gift baskets to clients who booked me. Not only does this show well deserved gratitude, it also leads to many more bookings. I even had one agent call me up sobbing – he said that no one had ever sent him a gift basket in 35 years of being an agent. Several times, I’ve had a client tell me Thank you so much for the gift basket – put yourself down for next year’s event, so it has paid off many, many times over.” -Dan Nainan, Comedian/Actor/Voiceover Artist/Computer Geek 

“As a small business, your reputation precedes you so it’s imperative that you give your customers the best customer experience possible the first time they use your services. One of our core functions is mediating complaints between consumers and business owners and it’s important that we resolve these matters expeditiously and with professionalism. Our staff is trained to handle these sensitive situations from each party’s perspective. In many cases, these disputes are resolved quickly and both parties walk away content, with some business owners even retaining those customers because they were given an opportunity to resolve the problems with their customer.” –Kiry Peng, Business Consumer Alliance

“Show your customers that you value their time (and yours)! One way to this is by being direct in your emails — Do you have time to talk about your project at 9:00am on Tuesday, or 3:00pm on Wednesday? If neither of those times work for you, please suggest two that do. Offering a choice and an alternative can help streamline the process of booking meetings.” –Jen Salamandick, Kick Point

“We’ve learned that aside from gaining positive customer service feedback, the real power of Yelp is learning from your other companies’ wins and especially their losses. In today’s world, just one negative review can spell doom for your company (especially if you operate in a low volume business or are just starting out). 

This is why it’s imperative to read reviews left for other players in your market and learn what kinds of things upset their customers as well as what left them loyal fans for life. By the time you learn your lesson from one negative review, it’s too late. It’s best to avoid these mistakes by reading about them first and learning what makes your customer’s tick and what makes them happy. Using this method, you can effectively double the speed at which you improve your customer service habits.” –Brandon Baker, Loveletter Cakeshop 

“Besides tucking bonus free samples and coupons into everyorder, whenever a customer calls with some sort of problem the solution is always simple: Make it right! Erin does whatever it takes to correct anything that comes up, whether it involves a free upgrade to faster shipping, working overtime for a redo on the order, tweaking the color of the cookies, you name it, she’ll do it to keep her valued customers coming back. In this age of instant social media complaints, it’s far too costly to ever have an unhappy customer.” –Erin Fry, FancyFortuneCookies.com

“ Jasper Contractors provides excellent customer service by making sure we are treating every client with the utmost respect, we are patient with clients, set very clear expectations, empathetic to their needs, and every situation is positive. We provide excellent service to customers and make sure we cover every basis. Best customer service tip for other small business owners is to always be positive, no matter what the situation may be. Use key words like awesome, absolutely to sound eager to help.” –Whitney Bristol, Jasper Contractors

“One way that we provide stellar customer support is around the clock support. We understand that our customers have really busy lives and can’t always contact us in a typical support time window, so we have customer service reps available whenever someone needs us. Since we are a business that relies on customer satisfaction, we want to go above and beyond when our customers have any questions or concerns.” –Jake Lane, LawnStarter, Inc.

“My best customer service tip is to give a good memorable experience. Most small business owners don’t understand the true power of word of mouth, especially in the days of social media. Customer service has indeed become one of the new marketing strategy in the days of social media. Learn to go out of your way to help a customer when they have a concern and always exceed their expectations. Also don’t be afraid to be personal, your customers don’t want to feel like they are talking to bots. Engage with your customers as if they were your friends, but in a professional manner. Using customer service to make your customers feel more valued is the most effective way to make a customer loyal to your company.” –Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco

“JotForm specializes in providing businesses with highly customized easy to use online forms. We’ve had over six million forms created, over two million users, and we’re closing in on 8,000 templates – yet with all these users and templates, customers have questions. We have a support team of over 20 people working remotely from different locations around the globe providing help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Think about the customers, put yourself in their shoes, and create a product or service that you would be happy with.” –Haroon Ahmad, JotForm 

“Customer service is the number 1 thing I think is important for businesses to succeed. The best tips I can give is to beat expectations, so when you tell something you will do something in 3 week, deliver it in 2, help customers with things they aren’t even paying for or give them a bonus for free without letting them know before.” –Stephan Reek, BSR Online  

“My top customer service tip is to be transparent with my customers and let them know exactly who I am and how I am helping them. Every member of my team uses their real first names and corresponds with members about problems in a personal manner rather than just signing things with general customer service titles. They like to know that real people are answering their questions and they like to stay informed about the progress of their issues.” –Tricia Meyer, Sunshine Rewards

“Learn to love hearing customer complaints because it’s scarier to not hear them. Sounds sick, but as an owner this is not only the way you can make your product or service better, it also shows the customer you care enough to listen and resolve their issue. You’ll find many times customers just want to be heard, appreciated and know that you’ll rectify a concern. Show sincerity, follow-up and you’ll build a raving fan vs. upset customer. This is the best customer service you can provide as an entrepreneur.” –Mike Kawula, Social Quant

“Real customer service is looking out for the best interests of your audience and being prepared to step away from a deal or reject a shopping cart purchase if someone doesn’t fully understand what they are committing to purchase. Set expectations at least 3 times to ensure your clients or customers understand what they are agreeing to. 

We review project plans three times with clients (measuring thrice before cutting) before we begin work. It holds both parties accountable to producing stellar results.” –Diana Santaguida, SEOcial.com

“Customer service is one of the easiest ways to market your business. Memorable customer service is rare. If you leave a lasting impression after a customer interaction, you can trust they’ll help spread the word.” –Lori Cheek, Cheekd

“As the owner of a small online business, it is important to me that we provide our customers with a personal touch, since we miss out on face to face interactions that are common in brick and mortar stores. Our agents send hand written notes to customers they have connected with via phone, chat or email, we sometimes include random free cleaning cloths with orders, and we have an internal system that allows our customer service agents to nominate customers to receive a free pair of glasses. Whether it is for a holiday, or for no reason at all, we’re busy going above and beyond in an effort to create long term relationships with our customers.” –Angie Stocklin, Readers.com

“The best customer service tip for any business is simple – Just Care More. We care more about our customers than our competition does. We care more about their safety, about their comfort and about restoring their home to the best condition it can be in.” –Peleg Lindenberg, 911 Restoration

“My best customer service tip for other small business owners is to always be available. When clients know that they can count on you any time of the day or night they have a sense of peace knowing that you care about them (which of course you do) and that they are really getting the appropriate service for the amount that they are paying. 

I also know as a customer that I like answers immediately. I don’t like to think or wonder so we like to treat our customers how we would like to be treated by a business.” –Rachel Charlupski, The Babysitting Company

“The best customer service tip is to have a good attitude!  When you are pleasant and friendly, you will provide top notch service that customers respond to.  Showing real warmth to others assists in increasing your sales.  People will notice a fake attitude, surliness, and will respond by walking away.  Having a bad attitude, being grumpy, not being approachable will kill your sales.” –Melinda Carver, Melinda’s Positive Products, LLC

“My best customer service tip for other small business owners, would be to care about why your customer is buying your product. If you don’t know why they would buy it, you aren’t in tune with your target audience. And when you are able to understand why they buy it, you can make a connection that goes beyond making money and into making someone’s day better.” –Alyssa Galloway, Chic Shed Jewelry

“Make customers feel that they’re your most valued client by making exceptions to the rule. In the age of social media where every tweet or review can make or break your business, don’t be afraid to bend the rules especially when common sense trumps company policy.” –Andrea Barnes, iCare Repair 

“Pretend you are on the other end of the line. How would you like to be treated? Pretend you are tired, frustrated and have to meet a deadline. Then actually go through your customer service and see if it makes you feel great. If not, make changes until it does. Sounds simple, but rarely done.” –Andrew Anderson, ContinualCustomer

“Set out your end goal from the start. Maybe you goal is a lofty one and you want to be the biggest in your field. Maybe you want your business to be enough to live comfortably. Once you have this goal, you can work backwards and ask yourself at every turn: if I treat my customer in this way, will it help or hinder me reaching my goal? Excellent customer service can cost a lot of money, eg if you never question anything a customer says and find yourself with lots of returned merchandise, you’ll end up with an army of followers, but a hefty bill. This can be a price worth paying if your end goals are extremely high.” –Pascal Culverhouse, The Electric Tobacconist®

“I am a newly launched small business, and it is my belief that everyone likes surprises, no matter how simple or small. For example, I will write a personal thank you note to be sent with orders, and include a sticker or promotional coupon for customers to be used on the website for future purchases. Every once in a while I will surprise a customer by including a second product in the package to share with a friend and thank them for spreading the word about Cup Muff. This is a win-win situation as the customer is thrilled with their surprise and I have hopefully obtained a lifelong customer who will spread the word about the product and great customer service.” –Caroline Fielding, Cup Muff   

“Going above and beyond for your customers is essential in order for your business to thrive. We make sure that every customer is happy with our product as well as our customer service. We make sure that we pay extra attention and go the extra mile for our customers, whether it’s making sure they receive their order on time or giving them special giveaways along with their product.” –Shay Ogundiran, Chocoberry Kreations, LLC

“Initiate a follow up with the customer, when they least expect it. Use a program that enables you to efficiently do so. I use HelpSpot (www.HelpSpot.com) – I am able to come in each day and see what still hasn’t been “closed out.” I keep communication “open” until I know the customer is beyond satisfied with the result of the communication. That way when a communication is still “open” I can initiate a conversation the customer and let them know I’m still working on the issue, or their exchange is on its way, or just ask them how they like the watch that had just been sent. I almost always get an amazing response! A sample response I received after initiating a follow up: “Wow, what a great email response! I appreciate a company that spends the time communicating with their customers…”” –Esti Chazanow, Swiss Watches

Looking to start your own business? Give us a call at 877 692 6772, or visit us at www.MyCorporation.com.

SHARE:

Deborah Sweeney

is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best.