Providing exceptional customer service is critical to running a successful small business. To do this, small business owners should try to create a culture of customer service. Don’t know how to get started? This article details the simple steps to follow.
Leads can easily determine if you are good or bad at the service. Customers expect assistance to be convenient and fast, online and in person. They expect you to have employees with knowledge and skills to solve problems. And they expect you to be available wherever they look for information or try to contact you: in your business environment, on social media, on your website, by email, or when they call.
Excellent customer service is key to turning first-time buyers into lifelong customers. That’s why creating a customer service culture will make your business a success and set you apart from the competition.
6 Steps to Creating a Customer Service Culture
Creating a customer service culture is a worthwhile endeavor for any small business. But where do you start? There is a culture of service when you motivate your organization’s employees to take a customer-centric approach to their regular work activities. Employees must put customer needs first when presenting solutions and providing support. Customer demands are changing. It is important to learn how to develop an excellent digital customer experience first. Here’s a 6-step strategy for creating a customer service culture that will make your small business stand out.
1. Understand where customer expectations come from
The first step in creating a customer service culture is to understand the origins of your customers’ expectations. How and when are expectations about your business formed? Some ideas include:
- Past experiences: A customer’s prior experience with your business will set expectations for their next visit. Consistency is important! Everything from your product / service to your interactions with your employees must be consistently high quality. Negative experiences can also set expectations. Therefore, it is important to resolve each customer conflict quickly to change your negative experience to a positive one.
- Your competition: Your customer also has expectations of your direct competitors. Speed, value, quality of service … where your competitors stay within these metrics will also set customer expectations for your business. To understand the expectations of customers coming from your competitors, you need to experience your competitor’s product or service first hand.
- Online or word of mouth reviews: Customers also have expectations based on what they read in online reviews or how they feel about friends and family. Therefore, small business owners should monitor and respond to online reviews on a regular basis in order to demonstrate exceptional service and change the narrative. For help, see my free resource: the ultimate guide to online reviews.
2. Learn to listen to customer expectations
Now that you know where your customer expectations are coming from, it’s time to train yourself to actively listen to those expectations. Doing so will allow you to establish a customer service culture that can meet and exceed those expectations.
As mentioned above, monitoring and responding to online reviews is a way to listen to customer expectations. Complaints about the speed, quality, or other aspects of your business indicate that your business violated a significant expectation.
Here are some other ways to listen to customer expectations:
- Look for brand mentions on social media platforms to hear what customers are saying about your business.
- Monitor your competition to see what new things they are doing (which can change expectations). You can also monitor their reviews and mentions online to see what their customers are complaining about.
- If a customer takes the time to excite (or complain) your employees, listen carefully and document the interaction so you can learn from them.
- Customers who do not approach you with complaints or compliments also have valuable feedback. Talk to your customers regularly about their experience and whether they live up to their expectations.
- You can also do your own customer research or encourage more customers to share feedback with you online and in person. For help, see my article solicit customer feedback.
3. Define what great customer service means
In this step, you already have a good idea of your customers’ expectations. Now that you’ve collected the data, you can take one of the most important steps in creating a customer service culture: Defining what great customer service means to your business. For example:
- Where do my clients want to reach my business (website, social media channels, email, physical location, etc.)?
- How can I make it easier for customers to reach my business?
- How quickly do customers expect their questions or issues to be resolved?
- What knowledge and skills do my employees need to have great customer service?
- What systems do I need to set up so that customer service and customer interactions run smoothly?
- How can I monitor and improve my company’s customer service? with the time?
By defining what good customer service means, you set a benchmark to measure your success and create the customer service culture you want to be known for.
4. Build your customer service team with caution
Creating a customer service culture requires that you create a customer service team equipped to do the job. When evaluating candidates, be sure to look for qualities such as:
- Good communication skills
- Emotional intelligence
- Problem solving skills
- Language and positive attitude
- Willingness to learn
Once the members of your customer service team are on board, it’s up to you to create them with the right training. This means creating training materials to help them and provide them with support and feedback in the workplace. It is also important to remember that training does not end the first week (or month) at work. Small business owners should periodically review performance and provide continuing education opportunities.
5. Set goals and expectations for your customer service team
Creating a customer service culture begins with (1) understanding customer expectations and (2) defining what great customer service means to you. Now you need to translate what these things mean in terms of expectations for your customer service team.
Document your expectations in the training materials you provide and make them clear when explaining company procedures. You may have expectations about how an employee interacts with a customer, the method they use to solve customer service issues, how long it should take, and so on.
Tracking individual performance is important. However, you can also monitor the performance of your computer to set larger goals for your business. For example, you may want to speed up your response or management time. When setting goals, make sure they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
6. Adjust the comments on both sides
The last step in creating a customer service culture is to be prepared to adapt to feedback, because feedback is ongoing and you need to have a plan to receive it and change your customer service strategy.
Listen to new feedback from your customers and see how your customer service team can adjust. Feedback can identify new or changing expectations, or they can help you identify (and solve!) A problem in your business.
The feedback from your customer service staff is equally valuable. After all, they are at the forefront of dealing with customers every day. Your feedback can help you identify aspects of your systems or processes that are not working optimally or find new ways to increase the level of customer service.
A culture of customer service
Creating a customer service culture will help your small business differentiate itself from the competition. It’s all about paying attention to your customers’ expectations and enabling your employees to meet (and exceed!) Their expectations. Follow the six steps in this article and create a culture of customer service and a reputation as the best business in your market!