The personal touch is something that is missing from the larger stores and something that can make a huge difference is the ordinary smile. Yes, most people do not realize how much difference can be achieved by showing that your customer is appreciated. The customer is at the heart of your business and getting and keeping customers is probably the most important task of the small business owner. Make sure your staff realize that and do not sabotage your business but act positively with a smile on their faces.
Life these days is so stressful and most people so busy that they generally do not smile and this simple action can brighten up your customer’s day and encourage them to return.
Something else that is forgotten is the simple and very effective thank you. Just like a smile it is so small and simple and yet so effective.
Remember that the people who shop with you or who are clients do not have to do business with you but next time could go to your competitors who are generally bigger and sell at cheaper prices. It is your customer service that sets you apart from that competition. They are more likely to return if you and all of your employees sincerely thank all of your customers for their business and suggest that they return soon. The choice is theirs; they do not have to come back so thank them sincerely for their custom.
Today small business owners have to face competition from many other businesses to include online businesses many of which are much larger than yours. Most small business owners feel that they are disadvantaged but it is not necessarily so. Finding a niche is one route to success and one that the larger firms have difficulty in competing with as they are not financially flexible enough.
Another effective way to keep customers is to engage the customer in small talk, yes very simple but also very effective. Anything from a good greeting to discussing the weather and the classic in a shop, asking them if you can help them. The fact that someone is available to help does not seem much but the customer often needs just a simple word of confirmation, something like that looks good on you.
The larger firms are not able to compete on this front and not everybody buys on price. In fact if you are servicing a niche you should not need to compete on price, relying on giving value for money. Make sure all your employees are trained in this skill as it may be the main or one of the main reasons for some customers returning regularly.
Also an environment for successful trading is ensured by your employees quickly and courteously answering the telephone to your customers. It is said that the way to being polite and make the customer feel valued is to answer the telephone with a smile on your face. Answering the telephone standing up is also said to make the recipient see you as relaxed as that posture releases tension. This telephone procedure is clearly common sense but quite often forgotten by business owners and employees. Often you are busy when the telephone rings and the call is seen as a nuisance but you must not convey that to the caller. It is important to stay cool, calm and collected.
Something that frustrates callers is the need to either put the caller on hold or to put them through to another extension. Often the member of staff is oblivious to the feelings of the person left on hold even if music is played. The telephone should never be allowed to ring more than three times before it is answered and if it cannot be dealt with the caller should not be put on hold but their number taken and the call returned as soon as possible.
These simple actions of being friendly, patient, and pleasant could well be the deciding factor in the caller deciding whether to do business with you. Yes they are simple but they are effective ways for you and your business to make a name for yourself; a positive name which will encourage the customer to return and could make your business profitable for years to come.