THE BLOG
10/28/2014 09:00 am ET Updated Oct 28, 2014

Exceptional Customer Service Affects Small Business Profitability

Since most small businesses don't have large sales teams, it's important to utilize all employees for new business opportunities. Creating positive customer service experiences will inspire emotional responses toward a business, including trust, gratitude and loyalty, and through word-of-mouth, every customer has the potential to become a brand advocate and increase profitability. Below are some tried and true tips to improving your company's customer service.

1. Training Regiment

Successfully selling a product without understanding the features and benefits is nearly impossible, especially when answering questions or providing advice -- that's where training comes in. When new employees start, they're often trained in the department for which they were hired, but what about other divisions? It's important to get a 360-degree education of the company. When an employee spends time in this type of training regiment, they're able to see the entire process from beginning to end, and team members can perform their jobs in the most knowledgeable and efficient way. In the same vein, customers who call customer service will always speak to someone with informed answers regardless of the question.

2. Purpose through Appreciation

Drilling the importance of customer service into employees is possible, but if they don't care about the company or the customer, or feel their jobs have no purpose, no amount of training will matter. What will make your employees care as much about customer service as you do? Making them care as much about the company as you do.

Unique incentives such as offsite workout memberships and exceptional benefits can help ensure every employee feels appreciated. When team members feel valued, they're often grateful and show it through dedication to making the company successful. Bottom line: when you care for your employees, they'll care for the company's success and profitability.

3. Internal Reporting

Every small business employee should be able to speak to a customer as though they've been involved from the beginning. As a result, patrons know they are receiving individualized attention. A good way to implement better internal communication often comes from reporting in databases. It's not enough to have the capability to record this information, employees must actually use this system and be diligent about entering details clearly. Through this database, personnel can communicate knowledgably with each other and with any customer.

4. The Element of Understanding

Empathy is an integral element of outstanding customer service. There's an old adage, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Trust is one of the most important, but often overlooked, factors in business because it ensures customer commitment, loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising. working with customers should be trained as great listeners and solution-oriented problem solvers. In this way, patrons can be satisfied their questions and concerns are taken seriously and effectively addressed.

5. Ditch the Automation

Automated phone systems are impersonal and can be a hindrance to customer loyalty. Using live bodies to answer every call may be more expensive for small businesses, but the higher overhead results in greater customer conversion rates from personal attention, that absolutely makes up the difference.

Customer service matters -- and you'll know when your company gets it right.

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