5 Useful Customer Service Tips for Small Business Owners
When customer service is at the heart of your business, it is important to focus on positive interactions. Below are 5 useful tips that will keep your clients happy and loyal.
CARP is a method for addressing the old “the customer is always right” adage. This technique for dealing with a difficult situation not only diffuses the problem at hand, but it often leaves you with an even stronger relationship with the customer. The CARP steps are:
- Controlling the situation to prevent further damage
- Acknowledging the customer’s complaint to demonstrate that you care
- Refocusing on creating a solution
- Problem-solving with the customer’s input
Feel Comfortable Saying, “I Don’t Know”
It can be tempting to make up an answer to a question when you’re in the dark. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” At the same time, always follow up that statement with a promise to find out the answer within a specific time frame. The customer will appreciate your honesty and your diligence in helping them acquire the information they need.
Find Common Ground
Psychologists have found that people tend to gravitate toward other people they deem similar to themselves. When interacting with a customer, try to identify some things you have in common and discuss them with sincerity. You want to avoid coming across as a sleazy used car salesman who will tell you anything you want to hear to make a sale. Build honest connections with your customers and they will turn into repeat customers.
Again, good customer service requires honesty. It goes against human nature to point out your flaws, but people are more likely to trust you when you acknowledge your own mistakes. If you notice a problem, let your customer know. Then let him or her know how you plan to remedy the situation. If you instead try to hide the issue, you will come across as deceitful and potentially lose future business.
Use Active Listening
All too often, people seem like they are listening when all they are doing is waiting for their own turn to talk. Customers, especially those who are unhappy with a transaction, want to know that they are being listened to and understood. Active listening is composed of:
- Clarifying the customer’s question or concern
- Paraphrasing the customer’s statement to let him or her know you understand
- Reflecting the customer’s feelings to demonstrate empathy (ex. “You must have been looking forward to this.”)
- Summarizing the conversation so that expectations are shared
Relationship building is a key to creating satisfied customers and growing your business. Follow these 5 easy tips to great customer service and you’ll keep your clients coming back for more.