by: Crystal Moore
Over time, many places have abandoned treating customers with common courtesy. Unfortunately, it is a rare to find a twinkle in someone’s eye who is supposedly there to help you.
As a former business owner, I know the importance of good customer service. When I am in sales, it is imperative to treat people with utmost respect – even if the prospect is a difficult one.
It’s true in large corporations, and it’s true in small mom and pop shops. Going that extra step to get to know your customer can add to your financial benefit. Additionally, it will make your job easier and more enjoyable.
My own experience
Over the last decade I have gotten to know thousands of people I really like. I enjoyed meeting them. I enjoyed going to work every day. I have taken trips with them, gone to lunch, attended church, and spent countless hours reaping the rewards of providing good customer interactions.
Not every customer responds positively to kindnesses extended. Nonetheless, they all got the same open, honest service. I’ve learned that customers are starving for a little customer appreciation.
Customer service is simple. Whether you are greeting a customer or meeting with a prospective client, make eye contact and smile. Introduce yourself and shake hands if appropriate. Answer their questions and offer information on products or services.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, respond with something honest and professional. “I don’t have that information, but I will find out and get back to you.” They will appreciate your frankness and professionalism.
Eye contact and smiles are very important. Many business people are too worried about what something looks like. Realistically, you cannot know everything. When you tell someone that you’ll get back to them, do so – as soon as possible. Don’t leave people waiting and wondering.
Keeping an open line of communication of details of their order will keep your customer or prospect at ease. You’ll help the person avoid their own frustration should something negative happen during the process of their business with you.
For example, a storm in another state can affect shipping times. Call and explain the situation to them. They might be a little upset, but it won’t be directed at you or your business. They will very much appreciate the information and your thoughtfulness.
The number one complaint in my experience is no one called them back or provided the information they needed. Doing so makes your job easier and the customer experience more pleasurable.
Customer service has evolved over the years to be a computer or automated call, replete with prompt to push buttons. Big companies have become lazy and they have tried to save money. Customers want answers when they call, not some recording where they get lost in the prompts, hang up, and get more frustrated when they are faced with calling again.
Good customer service is a face to face contact or a live call. Questions can be answered quickly and to the customer’s satisfaction.
Small businesses have a slam dunk in the customer service department. You deal with fewer customers, so you have more time to spend with each one.
In my own experience as a small business owner, I always gave everyone my full attention and enjoyed seeing them again. There were times I was bogged down, but, because of our relationship, they understood.
In the end, my customers took care of me. They referred me to others, and many followed me to my next business. Countless times I had people just drop in to say hello. Many enjoyed coming to my place and a sales call was made on the spot. Customers knew me well enough to trust me.
Go the extra mile. Spend time with your customers and prospects. Get to know them. The happiest people are the easiest to deal with.
Crystal Heather Moore is a native Arkansan. She has been in sales her whole professional life. She is currently regional sales director at ABC Printing & Signs. For 10 years, she ran her own company. She enjoys skiing in Colorado and spending time with her family. Her passion is to improve the lives of young people, help the unhelped, and love the unloved.