Bad Customer Service

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
Bill Gates

As a small business owner, you know that your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you don’t have a business. Unfortunately, while you do know how to connect with them, keeping them happy after the sale is an entirely different matter.

Why should you keep customers happy? Happy customers mean repeat sales, good reviews, and a stellar reputation. Not so happy customers… well you don’t want to go there.

Customer service is becoming more and more important for a number of reasons, and every type of business must provide it. Most aren’t doing it quite well enough. Here are five easy ways to understand the reasons your customer service isn’t quite cutting it

You’re Not Prepared for Things to Go Wrong

Things will go wrong, this is a rule of business. Even if you have the best product in the world, someone is still going to have an issue with it. This applies whether you’re a freelancer selling services or a brick and mortar business. No matter what it is you sell something can and will go wrong at some point – and you have to be prepared. Be ready to recognize that issues happen, and then fix them as needed.

You Don’t Take Steps to Make Customers Happier

Part of a great customer service program is anticipating needs, and unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t do this. By taking extra steps to make sure your customers are happy from the start, you prevent issues. How can you anticipate needs? By knowing your products. Does your product require manual set-up? Anticipate that people will be confused and offer a call service to help people with setting it up. Do clients sometimes need maintenance or upgrades? Make sure you offer both options. If you can anticipate common problems, you can preemptively solve them.

Your Only Contact Information Is Email

While the majority of businesses offer an email contact form online, they forget to offer anything else. Unfortunately, with text messaging, chat, and instant chat via the internet available, most customers want answers fast. If you want to answer their question before they move on to another store, you have to offer more than an email. The average business responds to emails within 4-8 hours, and sometimes 24-48 hours. The average customer wants to buy something now. By integrating chat systems, and live telephone answering services into your customer service, you can increase conversion and catch sales that would normally trickle through the cracks.

You’re Only Available for Limited Periods of Time

If you’re only available to answer customer service questions for a few hours a day then you’re doing your business a disservice. While it is okay for very small businesses to only answer calls when not too busy, call answering services are a sound investment and worth considering no matter the size of company. Try making yourself, or your employees, available to help customers during as many hours of the day as possible to improve customer service.

You Don’t Have Enough Contact Options

Finally, not everyone wants to pick up the phone, but they might not want to wait for your live ticketing service to go through either. Make sure you have a number of different contact options. The three basics are phone, email, and chat, although small businesses can sometimes skip the chat.

Customer service isn’t rocket science, but it is important. In fact, it actually affects sales, repeat sales, and your reputation. Best of all, you might be surprised by how easy it is to improve yours.

Bio: Mark Claymore blogs for Continental Message Solution, a US based call center committed to helping small businesses deliver superior customer service. They handle inbound calls and provide live operator support so companies can remain available 24/7 without hiring dedicated staff.