Local Business Marketing – Small Business Customer Service – Now is the Time to Stand Out

The key to doing well in your small business in the coming year depends on your ability to provide excellent customer service. What are you doing to improve the way you deal with customers? Let me give you a few examples of the poor customer service I have received lately. I call this the “Customer Service Hall of Shame.”

In my household we love coupons. The other day I received a coupon for a free box of fries from a local burger joint. When I presented the coupon I was met with stares and blank eyes. The cashier then spent five minutes trying to figure out “can we have this”.

Now I know it’s important to only accept valid coupons, but the way this was handled completely ruined the point of a coupon in the first place. A coupon is an incentive for a customer to come try her products and services. Hopefully if they like them they will come back and buy that item soon. After that experience I really don’t think they got their value out of the coupon. He was definitely not enthusiastic about his service.

About a week ago I stopped by the drive for a cup of coffee (a different burger joint). I paid for two mediums and when I stopped at the second window they told me they only have small cups and I asked if that would be ok. Well let’s see, would it be okay if the next time I came over I just paid for half of my order? No, of course it’s not right. They then offered me cookies and apple pies to complement. Needless to say, I was not thrilled with the service at this place either.

Nothing is worse than having the price change after you’ve ordered something!

Well, maybe one thing is worse… not being given anything at all. I recently purchased a virus cleaning service for my computer. The service was over $300, but they promised to spend 3-4 hours working on my machine (via the web) and then give me an additional two years of service as needed. They promised me a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I ordered the product and watched them spend about 20 minutes playing with my setup. The end result was that my machine was still corrupted with viruses. When I called to get the refund it took over an hour and a lot of arguing. Can you say, “hall of shame”?

These are all examples of very poor customer service. So how can you make sure your small business doesn’t end up failing like this? It’s simple, you always teach your employees that the customer comes first. Ideals are transmitted from the top down. If your employees know you’ll stand behind their products, they’ll be happy to, too.

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