The BBB Connection March 2018 - Page 12

BUSINESS BY H.R. ROBERTSON As every business owner knows, running a business is a nonstop endeavor and most would agree that one of the biggest challenges for every business is building your customer base. How do you set yourself apart from your competitors? The secret formula is this: provide good, old-fashioned customer service. In today’s marketplace, customer care simply isn’t what it used to be. With the latest apps available, consumers are making product and service decisions with a few simple clicks on their Smartphones, computers or tablets. Personal interaction between the customer and the provider is non-existent, or minimal, at best. The challenge to simply get customer attention has changed as a result of our fast-paced lifestyle – but it doesn’t mean that we don’t or shouldn’t care for our customers in the same way as past generations. Whether you consider yourself to be a veteran in your industry or an up and coming entrepreneur looking to re-invent the wheel, it’s easy to get lost in the process and chao of running your business and let customer care slip away from the top of your priority list. However, you can make changes to how you approach customer service in your business and strengthen your sales and customer retention in the process. First, you have to want to help your customers. Customers sense when you are genuine and, if you’re not, they may choose to take their business elsewhere and walk away with an experience that leaves them dissatisfied and complaining to others. Train yourself and your team to build stronger customer care by setting aside personal feelings and professional frustrations when engaging with customers and place focus on the effort to give real assistance. The second rule of thumb is the old adage, “The Customer always comes first.” This is the basis of good, old-fashioned customer service. Remember when businesses welcomed their customers by name and, no matter where you went, someone would look you in the eye to say “hello”? Not only did this type of care show respect and make people comfortable, it was good for business. Maybe a little more customer TLC would do your company some good. Blending old-fashioned expectations with modern customer care is as simple as consistent smiles, friendly greetings, genuine interest in your customer’s well-being and sincere appreciation for their time and money spent with you. After all, aren’t your customers the foundation of your business? Finally, make your customers feel appreciated and give them your undivided attention. Avoid the temptation to check your email, scroll through Facebook, etc. Really focus. Listen to what your customers are talking about. Aim to understand their needs and work to deliver the right service or product to fill those needs as opposed to what is most convenient or most advantageous for you. Making your customers’ best interests your best interests will help you gain stronger customer retention and more customer referrals as well. Of course, none of this is new information. In fact, most of us grew up hearing these simple lessons. However, sometimes a refresher on good, old-fashioned customer care is just what a business needs to reengage with a customer base that becomes more and more detached with each new technological gadget. Let’s face it, customers work with businesses they respect and trust and that respect and trust must be earned through good products, reputable business practices and positive customer interactions. 12 The BBB Connection - March 2018