The Death of Customer Service and How YOUR Small Business Can Benefit From It

Last month I talked about Six Ways You Can Demand Better Customer Service as a customer.  Today I'd like to share with you how the death of customer service nationwide actually benefits YOUR business.  It's actually quite simple because the bar has been set so low.   

Most Americans' expectations of customer service these days is that it will be a long and frustrating process that will end with little to no satisfaction to show for it.  Here's how that works in YOUR FAVOR:

1. Unless your company blows it BIG TIME, most people won't take the time to complain. Customers are so tired of expending energy, and they are so busy that they are reluctant even to try unless they deem it a situation that is egregious.  So if you continue to provide a good product or service in good faith, your complaint department can be small.

2. Any minute show of a quick response will get you high praise.  Every time a customer emails to ask a question, I answer it that same day and often within a few hours.  I can't tell you how often I get a reply thanking me not only for answering their question but for doing it so quickly.  

3. Make sure to read their emails thoroughly and answer completely.  So many companies have canned responses and end up sending the wrong response or answering half the question because the customer service rep never read the entire email. Your company will stand out in comparison when you dazzle them by replying to each and every one of their questions, concerns, or complaints.   

4. Do some active listening to make sure you answer any questions they might have forgotten or not known enough to ask.  Read between the lines.  Customers love not having to email back and forth and will be ecstatic that you were so efficient. It also communicates to them that you are the expert in your field.  

5. Offer them some kind of discount they may or may not already know they qualify for.  Do you offer discounts for military families?  If their email mentions they are a military family, let them know that in your email.  Even if they already know this, it communicates to them that your company cares.  Are you running a sale right now on a more expensive product or better model?  Do you have a buy one get another free?  Let them know.

6. If your customer has a complaint that you were not able to resolve, think of something you may be able to offer them as compensation anyway: a bonus gift, a coupon for 10% off their next order or refunding them a percentage of their purchase price.  

7. If your customer has an unreasonable request due to a hardship, you might consider doing it anyway.  I once had a customer order a study she'd never used for a whole year after which her husband had been laid off.  She asked me if she could return it. She had purchased something from me before, and I felt for her, so I allowed it because I know what it feels like to be in need.  She was appreciative. A week or two later, her husband found another job, and she reordered the same book.  She went on to sing my company's praises all over her social media.  

Customer service is almost a four-letter word these days, but since the bar has been set so low by those large faceless companies with big customer service departments, it's actually pretty easy to compete.  It doesn't take much to put a BIG SMILE on your customer's face.  Just a few minutes of your time makes a lifetime of happy customers singing your praises.  

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