As a small business owner, providing excellent customer service should be one of your cornerstones. The personal touch you provide is one of the main reasons why people will choose you over larger stores and corporations. The list below provides tips for providing an outstanding customer service experience every time. How well does your business measure up?

  • Focus on the positive.  Having an optimistic point of view can go a long way.  Your sunny disposition will rub off on customers. You of course want to be genuine, but make the effort to put a positive spin on any situation.  For example, a customer may say that she just doesn’t know where to start in improving her look with makeup. The salesperson replies, “Why don’t we start by working on those dark circles under your eyes?” This could make the customer feel self-conscious, and she leaves hurt, angry, and in search of a different business. The salesperson should have taken a positive approach by saying something like, “Let’s start by finding some color to bring out those gorgeous brown eyes of yours!” Always focus on the positive to make your customers feel special and appreciated.
  • Be helpful in your initial engagement.  Those first impressions you make on customers are lasting ones, so focus on being a helpful ally in their quest to find what they are looking for. One way to do this is by asking questions about them to give you some insight about how to tailor your services to their needs. Get a sense of where they are in their lives (job, spouse, children, friends) and what interests them (special skills, hobbies). For example, someone selling clothes learns that a customer has just become an empty-nester and is about to travel around the country with her spouse for the first time in two decades. Knowing this will help the salesperson select products that would be of most use to this particular customer, and the personal attention provided will keep the customer coming back again and again.
  • Hold their hands through the process. If there are any specials steps to buying from you, such as ordering, delivery, or paperwork, take the extra step of filling out the paperwork for the customer and explaining the process clearly. If a customer needs to go online to find a particular item, do it for them. Eliminate any stress the customer might experience from having to take an additional step, and take care of it for them. This is excellent customer service that will keep them coming back to you and your business.
  • Follow up quickly. After a customer shops with you, personal follow up can really set you and your business apart. Make sure you get contact information from each customer, and ask how they prefer to be contacted. Make sure items were delivered, that the order is complete and accurate, and that the customer is satisfied. Quick follow-ups show customers your desire to please, and lets them know that their business is important to you.
  • Ask for feedback.  Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. Ask the customer what they thought of the shopping experience, and what would make the experience even better next time. Most people won’t initiate feedback, so it’s your job to seek it out and use what you hear to improve.  It takes a thick skin to do this sometimes, but it’s a highly effective way to improve and grow your business.

Customer service requires a genuine desire to help others, which will help you stand out from your competitors.

Is there anything that should be added to our list?  Please share your ideas below!