My small business trends for 2014 reveal an interesting conundrum. We all know customers demand the ease of doing business with you via high-tech so we’re all scrambling to keep up with technology. But interestingly, at the same time, customers crave high-touch.
Customers are quickly frustrated and often irritated when your business phone is answered by an automated attendant who goes through a lengthy list of options in more than one language before you can speak to a real person. Then when you reach a “live” person it is someone who is barely understandable. speaks in a monotone voice, and who is interested not in your name, but in your customer number and password. It doesn’t get any more impersonal than that.
Small businesses have a distinct advantage when it comes to providing high-touch customer service. Therefore, this year concentrate on providing highly personalized service in conjunction with your mobile applications. Make it easy for your customers to complain and respond quickly when they do. You have a unique opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan if you manage it appropriately.
My friend, Shep Hyken, customer service expert and New York Times bestselling author, points out “Not all customers are created equal. Some spend more than others, are easier to deal with, etc. But that doesn’t mean that each and every one of them shouldn’t feel, at that moment, like they are the most important customer you have. Make every customer feel like a VIP,”
Whether it’s a face-to-face encounter or engaging with a customer via social media, remember to provide first-class customer service — that’s something with which the big guys difficulty competing.