Business Type :

Customer service is one of the most critical parts of your small business. You want to be sure you’re able to connect fully and honestly with your customers, providing them with the high-quality service that they expect and deserve.

Keep in mind that customers are twice as likely to share a bad customer service experience as they are to share a good one, which means that a negative interaction can have serious ramifications for your business.

For that reason, building a great customer service team is an ongoing process that is well worth the effort for your business.

1. Be prepared to train your customer service team.

For some people, good customer service seems to come naturally. Others are prepared to provide everything they can for your customers, but they might not know how to go about it. By providing regular, ongoing customer service training for your employees, you can help provide them with the tools they need to give your customers their best.

2. Offer online options.

Today’s customers are short on time and short on patience. Many of them don’t even like communicating with people over the phone. For this reason, online customer service is critical. Over 50% of your customers likely describe online customer service as being one of their preferred methods for contacting your team—and that means you need to be providing it.

If you want a good example of this, check out the live chat feature at the bottom of our own site during business hours!

3. Respond fast.

80% of Twitter users and 50% of Facebook users expected a response to their query within a business day in 2012—and that number has only continued to grow since then. When you make a fast, accurate response a hallmark of your customer service experience, you ensure that you’ll keep bringing satisfied customers back to your doors.

4. Pay attention to the people you hire.

Providing employees with customer service training might fill in some gaps, but it’s important that your team be filled with people who are dedicated to solving the problems customers experience.

Look for problem-solvers who are willing to go the extra mile or who will work hard to figure out how to make a customer happy. This mentality will create a shift throughout your customer service department, especially if you treat them like a coherent team.

5. Respect your customers’ time. 

This isn’t just about a fast resolution to a problem. It’s also about respecting the time and effort that customers need to put into their queries. They don’t want a complicated customer service process that takes up half of the day. In most cases, that will result in customers who give up on the process—and in many cases, they may give up on your company altogether.

6. Listen to your customers.

Chances are, your customers are already telling you what they want, both from your company as a whole and from the customer service experience. By listening to them, you can increase your customer service efforts and provide exactly what they’re looking for.

Pay specific attention to complaints or concerns that you hear from numerous customers. In many cases, it could be the key to more effective customer service.

7. Offer incentives and appreciation to your customer service team.

A customer service team that knows they’re appreciated will be more likely to go the extra mile for your customers. Appreciate them when they do something right. Recognize them when something outside their control has gone wrong and they’ve had a lot to deal with. Proper recognition for all they do can be the difference between a customer service team that doesn’t care about the company and one that genuinely wants to make the best of every customer interaction.

With as many as 40% of customers admitting that they have left a company over a bad customer service experience, it’s critical to get your customer service team up to standards. By following these recommendations, you can take your customer service—and therefore your small business as a whole—to the next level.