The new year has arrived. It is time for small business owners to start thinking about how they will approach providing superior customer service for the year ahead.
Resource limitations due to labor and supply shortages have become all too common. Unfortunately, these limitations may impede small business owners’ abilities to provide their customers with their full scope of products and services at all times. Therefore, small business owners must have a plan for continuing to provide excellent customer service despite these challenges.
Here are five ways for small business owners to ensure they provide superior customer service:
1. Be open and honest.
Small business owners can provide exceptional customer service by being honest about their challenges. Whether small business owners must reduce hours, products, or services due to labor and supply shortages, they must be upfront with customers. Customers greatly value this honesty and knowing what to expect from the small businesses they frequently visit. They will appreciate being informed of the latest updates and changes the small businesses they rely on are experiencing.
2. Don’t be afraid to apologize.
Another easy way for small business owners to jump-start providing fantastic customer service is by not being afraid to apologize. When faced with labor and supply shortages, small business owners may not have all of their products and services readily available. Therefore, they have to be willing to apologize when customers are unable to get the products and services they are looking for. Customers will significantly respect and appreciate their humility and be more inclined to continue doing business with them in the future.
3. Offer incentives.
Small business owners can also provide superior customer service by incentivizing customers to continue doing business with them in the future. When facing labor and supply shortages, small business owners may find their customers become frustrated. If they cannot get the products and services from a small business they are used to, they may be inclined to do business elsewhere. Therefore, small business owners can deter customers from turning to their competitors by offering them incentives. These include coupons, loyalty punch cards, rewards programs, or referral bonuses. These incentives will increase customers’ likelihood of doing business with them.
4. Stay positive.
Small business owners should use the most positive language when communicating a change in hours or product and service offerings. Customers appreciate knowing this information. And, if small business owners frame it in a positive light when communicating it to customers, it increases the odds they will return to doing business there. Instead of telling customers, “We will only be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday.” Small business owners should say, “We will be open and ready to serve you from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Tuesday.” Using negative communication detracts from a small business owner’s efforts. However, positive communication highlights the great work they are doing.
5. Tackle problems head-on.
Part of providing excellent customer service is knowing when to admit you are wrong. Small business owners must be willing to take responsibility when faced with an upset customer. Whether the customer received a faulty product or a service did not go exactly as planned, small business owners need to be prepared to tackle these challenges head-on. A small business owner should take time to listen to the customer and understand the full scope of their complaint. They should then take responsibility and let the customer know they are sorry. Finally, the small business owner and the customer should work together to come to a resolution. Taking time to listen to and work out problems with customers makes them feel appreciated and more connected to the business at hand.
Providing exceptional customer service is something every small business owner desires to achieve.
However, resource limitations due to labor and supply shortages often make it hard for them to do just that. When customers cannot easily access the products and services, they are looking for. They can become discouraged by a small business and seek out other options, including its competitors. Sometimes these competitors are big box stores and chains challenging for a small business to compete. Therefore, small business owners must be prepared now more than ever to provide superior customer service.
These are challenging and unpredictable times for many small business owners. However, that does not mean their customer service practices have to be. Small business owners must remember to prioritize their customers to ensure they continue to do business with them for years to come. Happy customers can make all the difference for a small business!
PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!