Small businesses often complain that they cannot really compete with larger firms. Economy of scale is usually cited as the main reason for this. Large firms are able to purchase raw materials and stock on a scale that a small business could never afford.
However, small business owners often overlook some of the benefits that a smaller scale provides them. One of the most important of these is their ability to offer better and more personal customer service than a large multinational corporation.
More than any other area of business, customer service is a way of showing customers that they have made the right choice in choosing a small firm. There is an old saying that ‘the last person to buy from you is most likely to be the next person who buys from you’. This is often true, especially if you are making a particular effort to provide excellent customer service.
Customer retention is not something that often occurs purely by accident. If a customer makes the decision to purchase from your business for a second time, they have been impressed enough to buy from you again. All of your actions should be focussed on ways that you can improve the purchasing process to make life easier for your customers and give them some impetus to return.
From the moment a customer first purchases from you, it should be a priority to automatically send a message thanking them. This is important because customers should be able to reply to this message in some fashion if there are problems with their order. Provide an email address, phone number and mailing address if necessary. Let them know that they shouldn’t hesitate to contact you if they experience problems.
If a customer does have issues, it is sometimes best in the long-run to show goodwill and generosity rather than to quibble over matters. The customer will be very impressed if you go beyond the call of duty to try and remedy problems and you are likely to gain their loyalty. Clients want to feel that you are not just out to take their money and you actually care about the service you provide.
Statistically, businesses with a focus on customer service are able to charge more than their competitors. Other statistics show that consumers that have had a bad shopping experience are likely to inform at least nine other people about it. Can you really afford not to make customer service the main focus of your business?