One aspect of customer service that often gets overlooked is what you can do to help customers that go beyond direct conversations. Here are 4 tips to make sure you aren’t missing out…
Providing the best customer service should always be a top priority for business owners. In this service-based economy, you should always be receptive to finding new ways to provide the ideal experience for your target audience. Obviously, it remains important to communicate effectively with everyone you do business with.
With that said, there is more to customer service than spoken words and handshakes. Here are 4 tips that will help you go beyond direct conversation and allow your business to achieve next-level customer service success:
1. Make sure your business space is inviting, informative and well-organized. First impressions can still make all the difference for your business. Not only should you and your staff dress the part with custom branded apparel, but your lobby needs to be inviting, informative, and well-organized. Everything in your office or business space should be clean, and the décor should be carefully chosen to strengthen your brand identity. If you have a high volume of customers that are waiting to be seen, you should have comfortable seating along with sample products/books, company catalogs, brochures or anything else that can help transform waiting time into a learning experience about your business.
Equally as important when someone is waiting is to make sure you have signs that are clear and easy to read. Customers should know exactly where to go to check in, sit, and use the restroom if necessary. If you have any rules you would like customers to follow while waiting – such as no cell phones or no smoking – make sure you have signage that clearly states these rules and that those signs are placed where everyone can see them.
2. Offer an easy and straightforward check-in process. When customers walk through your doors, they should know exactly where to check in. Make sure this is clear with signage that says, “Welcome!” and “Check in here!” One thing you want to avoid is a long line that causes a bottleneck in one area of the lobby, and there are several ways to make sure this doesn’t happen. First, organize your check-in area with a single line queue that has a clear point of entry. This prevents multiple customers from approaching the front counter all at once and avoids confusion/frustration.
Another way you can make the check-in process easier is to allow customers to schedule appointments online in advance of coming into your space. This keeps the line moving and allows customers to plan their day easier since they know they already made an appointment to see you. No matter what methods you choose for customer check-ins, the most important thing is to make the process as easy and straightforward for your customers as possible.
3. Be clear with payment methods and consistent with invoices. The last thing you want after spending all of your time and energy on making a sale is to then get held up during the billing process. If you run a retail business with significant daily point of sale transactions, make sure you have the proper systems in place for handling the volume and clearly state acceptable payment methods on the door or at the counter. For e-commerce sales, your website has to be secure for handling such sensitive information and you should also clearly state what payment methods are accepted online. If you run a business to business service or are part of an industry that does a lot of invoicing, you must be consistent with your invoices. Send them out on time, provide crystal clear payment instructions, and make sure customers know who the invoices are coming from and why they are being billed. The easier and more transparent your billing process is, the more your customers will be willing to keep doing business with you.
4. Go beyond saying “Thank You” and give rewards to loyal customers. Aside from providing outstanding quality and service on a consistent basis, there is no better way to keep customers coming back than by giving them some incentive to do so. Rewards programs have become commonplace in sectors such as the restaurant and retail industries, but any small business can create a sensible rewards program with a little bit of help. Businesses can use direct mail programs to send discounts to loyal customers at times that make sense. Cross media marketing campaigns are also widely popular, where customers receive postcards from businesses that contain a strong call to action in order to drive up website traffic. Whether it’s 15% off their next purchase or monthly/seasonal coupons, your customers will appreciate your desire to continue working with them while helping them save a little money on their end as well.
At the end of the day, business owners should have a well-rounded yet meticulous approach to improving and excelling at customer service. For all of the value that is rightfully placed on direct conversations, you should strive to have all of the above pieces in place to make sure the customer experience is as pleasant as possible throughout the entire sales cycle.
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