We’ve all had those moments. Waiting in line at the supermarket surrounded by weary faces and frowns only have a simple smile brighten our day. A smile is all it takes to go back to that local cafe down the road over the five other cafes, even if they sell the same coffee for a lower price.
It’s easy to see how excellent customer service influences our everyday decisions but have you ever considered how customer service might impact your business? With the right culture, training and practices, quality customer service might just make the difference between a loyal customer who is going to drive new business or a scathing review.
A Competitive Advantage
Excellent customer service is the competitive advantage of small businesses. While larger businesses offer cheaper prices and have stronger bargaining powers, there’s a reason why we choose to go to our local cafés over Starbucks. It’s not just because we’re coffee snobs. It’s because of the ambience and the people.
Customers aren’t just looking to buy a product or service. They may want an experience and to build long-term relationships. Loyal customers are a small business’s competitive advantage. They are brand ambassadors, promoting your company through word of mouth.
A personalised approach to customer service is a unique service that is likely to be appreciated and rewarded by the market. This may take the form of increased brand loyalty, customer lifetime value and the volume of new customers.
Recent studies by LinkedIn have shown that on average it costs between seven to twenty times more to sell to a new customer than existing customers. While most businesses invest significant amounts into marketing campaigns to acquire new customers, it’s always easier to keep your current customers.
How can you create strong brand loyalty and keep your customers happy?
Most businesses don’t follow up on past customers nor do they measure how satisfied customers are with the quality of their services. If your business provides services, it’s a good idea to gather your customer’s contact details.
Give them a simple, personalised phone call. Send them an email to ask them if they have any issues or to update them about recent developments they might be interested in. These simple actions puts your business at the forefront of their mind and shows that real people are working on their behalf.
The next time you indulge on that overpriced cup of organic, free-trade coffee down the road, remember what you’re paying for. It’s the customer service, the relationship and the warm smile that says ‘Hi, I am glad to see you today’. Never underestimate the importance of customer service and always think of ways to make your customers feel valued.
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