There are many ways it can be difficult for your small business to compete with the “big guys.” They often have large marketing budgets and scores of employees. Despite their seeming advantages, there is still one area where your small business can truly stand out – customer service. It’s not only cost-effective to provide outstanding customer service; it just plain makes good business sense. For instance, did you know that it is 6-7 times more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer?
The Customers 2020 Report estimates that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of the decade. Just take a look at a few more astonishing facts about the importance of customer service:
- 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service. 62% have actually switched brands due to poor customer service.
- Consumers are twice as likely to share bad customer service experiences as they are to talk about positive ones.
- It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.
You’re actually lucky if someone complains – at least you’ve still got a chance to save the relationship. The vast majority of customers with simply leave without ever saying anything. What does this mean to you as a small business owner? It means you’ve got to be better, faster and more responsive than your competitors. Here are a few savvy strategies to help keep your business on top:
- Answer your phone: Don’t make customers wait or leave a message. They might just hang up. It might not be pleasant to hear, but a customer with a complaint is giving you a chance to make things right.
- Answer your email: If somebody sends in a question or comment, make sure you have a timely response. That alone will help you stand out from corporations which have to go through channels or only have canned answers to customers’ questions.
- Show that you care: 68% quit because of an attitude of indifference towards the customer by the staff. Welcome customers, say thank you, remember their name, and show that you care.
- Respond to your social media: If you have a Facebook page or Twitter account, make sure you look at it and answer any customer inquiries. If something is wrong, take the conversation offline.
- Ask for input: Don’t be afraid to ask customers how you’re doing. If something is wrong, fix it. If something is right, ask if you can use it in your marketing.
One career area where customer service skills are crucial is the emotionally and financially rewarding career of a college financial aid advisor. The CFAA Training Institute provides an insider’s education on the college financial aid industry along with sound advice to help your business grow. Contact the CFAA Training Institute today for more information about becoming a Certified College Financial Aid Advisor™.