For a small company, exceptional customer service isn’t optional—you must have it if you want to win (and keep) customers today. In fact, about 60% of consumers said they would walk away from a brand after two or more negative interactions, according to a survey.
We asked business owners their most popular customer service practice and why it’s so effective. Here’s how they responded:
Addressing customer issues rapidly
I have instilled in my sales and marketing team that our goal is always first-call resolution for customers. If you go out of your way to answer a query or solve an issue during your first customer service interaction with someone, it shows them that you are committed to solving their problem, that you are efficient and that you avoid wasting time with long waits, run-around and passing people off to different employees. You accomplish this by empowering your customer service people to negotiate and offer solutions while establishing parameters and limits.
—Bryce Welker, CEO, Crush the CPA Exam, La Jolla, California
Checking in post-sale
I take a special interest in customer service as I feel it’s the most powerful brand-building tool there is. We follow up with our customers after the completion of a sale. It’s a great time to ask questions about the quality and expectation of the product. This is really useful for us because it provides us with insight as to how people are receiving our furniture. Are people happy with the build quality, was it delivered on time, were there any snags along the way? These are all questions we want answers to so that we can improve.
—Chris Campbell, partner, The Charming Bench Company, Green Cove Springs, Florida
“I take a special interest in customer service as I feel it’s the most powerful brand-building tool there is.”
Offering “risk-free” transactions
One of the challenges of being in e-commerce today is competing with the big-box stores and Amazon, which seem to have endless numbers of products that are able to appear at customers’ doors overnight. We address this by providing our customers with a risk-free shopping experience that rivals the big online stores by offering overnight shipping and free returns on all items—even custom designs. Especially when ordering online, customers want the peace of mind that they receive exactly what they need and when they need it, or their money back.
—Yuvi Alpert, founder and CEO, Noémie, New York City
Using a chatbot
Chatbots have helped us optimize our customer service department because it allows us to make easy connections with current and potential customers. Chatbots open up a quick point of communication whenever someone has a question or issue. Alongside efficient communication, we also can record interactions with customers, which provides content for training and team development.
—Jonathan Zacharias, founder, GR0, Los Angeles
Picking up the phone
Our most popular customer service practice is simply calling our clients. It sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you how many organizations out there try to solve problems only through chat and email. The customer gets frustrated because their problem isn’t being solved, and it’s taking forever. Anytime we find ourselves in a situation where we have to convey complex information or someone has something urgent, our default is to just call them up and talk about it. By listening to them, learning what their underlying concern or question really is—and by advising them—we’ve accomplished a few things: We’ve helped them, we’ve built a better relationship with them and we’ve done both in less time than it would take to write a four-paragraph email response.
—Zach Drisko, founder, Rainmaker, Austin, Texas
What’s your company’s most popular customer service practice? Share your insights in the comments section below!Print this article
The personal touch can't be emphasized enough, it's what sets us apart from the big boxes and online retailers. Answer every call in the tone of a trusted friend. Treat each customer as more than a sale, know more about each than just their purchase history. None of us is perfect, but when issues arise, own the mistake and do what's right.