Customer Service 5 Tips to Stop the Insanity

By: Donna Simpson

Running a small business can be challenging, especially if you are a one person operation. You’re doing it all and you’re doing it all at once. YIKES! That can make the best of us not think clearly. I just ran into a situation where I was trying to buy a friend a gift certificate for a service, from a small home-based business. The owner told me they were booked solid until the end of the year and would not sell me a gift card. Me, the customer, with money in hand was turned away? What? Stop the insanity.

I’ve been someone’s customer for more than 50 years, so this brings me to my top 5 personal customer service tips for very small businesses.

1. Build a relationship with your customers. I hope you’re having conversations with your customers while they are in your store. Next time they come in, recognize them. Thank them for returning. I could have spit nails when a new shop came to town. I spent way too much money and time in the place but every time I went in the owner acted like it was the first time he ever saw me. I stopped going there.

2. Share knowledge with your customers. If you found a new way to use your product or service, share it! Customers like to learn new tricks.

3. Always try to find a solution for the customer. There is a small corner store I used to frequent, daily, if not more. I always chatted with the owner. One day the debit card machine wasn’t working and as always, I had zero cash on hand. I can think of several solutions, since I was a regular, but the one they chose, was a shoulder shrug and a lame “sorry”. Off I went empty handed never to return.

4. Keep your posted hours. I get mad as heck when a business isn’t open when it says it will be. I may return, but knowing me, you’ll never see me again.

5. And finally, under promise and over deliver. Yes, this is an oldie but goodie and keeps customers feeling valued, even in the smallest business.

These tips aren’t new, but they still matter. And remember, a happy customer will come back!

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About The University of Scranton SBDC

The University of Scranton SBDC provides no cost small business consulting services that are tailored to fit the needs of small business clients of Bradford, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne & Wyoming Counties. The center offers confidential individualized assistance designed to identify and address the problems of small business owners as well as individuals interested in establishing a business. The program is jointly funded by the US Small Business Administration, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and The University of Scranton.
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