Four customer service tips for entrepreneurs

It’s not enough these days to have an outstanding product or service

Have you analyzed your customer service practices recently? It’s not enough these days to have an outstanding product or service; if someone is unhappy or can’t reach you with a question, they will be quick to bash you on social media or online review sites. Often these bad reviews are what people notice over good reviews.

If you want to develop a reputation for being the Nordstrom of customer service, here are four tips that will ramp up your reputation:

1. Be Responsive

Frustration will set in quickly for clients who can’t get a quick answer to their questions. Have a process in place for answering emails or phone calls quickly, and how to handle weekend inquiries. If you have specific office hours, make them public on your website, have them listed in your email signature and certainly mention those hours on your phone voice message. If you’re using a digital service help desk like Zendesk, be sure this service is working effectively and your client is receiving a timely response.

2. Be Friendly

Follow the old saying of, “kill ‘em with kindness.” You can never go wrong being friendly and patient, even if your client is yelling or rude. Very often when they hear that they can’t rattle you, their temperament will calm down. The same is true for rude or unhappy emails. This is when having canned responses can help because then you can just copy and paste the response without being tempted to answer in a rude tone.

3. Listen (and Read) Carefully

People want to be heard and they want quick results. If your client explains their problem, they want you to respond with an appropriate response, not with the standard canned response that doesn’t apply to them. For instance, if they say to you they have already tried ‘xyz’ to solve the problem, don’t suggest to them to try ‘xyz.’ The same is true for emails. Canned email responses are great only if they address the actual problem.

4. Hire a Qualified Team Member

No one knows your product or service better than you. Handling customer service calls can be time consuming and emotionally draining. Hiring even one client service assistant allows you to delegate that task so you can be more productive on the things you love most. Also, as an entrepreneur, it can be emotionally difficult to hear people unhappy with your products or service. Allowing someone else to deal with those calls won’t bruise your ego and will keep your confidence in tack.

Dr. Carol Parker Walsh is a confident & executive coach, personal branding expert, certified image professional and owner of Camas-based Evolve Image Consulting. She is the expert behind the Vancouver Business Journal’s advice column: Dress Code. This column specializes in providing strategies to position entrepreneurs and leaders for success. Walsh can be reached at evolvingyourimage.com.

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