At Nucleus Commercial Finance, we understand that running a business can be a daunting task and that can come with unique hurdles. Seasonal peaks, late payments and unhealthy cash flow are all challenges that businesses, especially SMEs, are faced with, but learning to overcome these challenges can separate the winners from the losers when it comes to business.
There are numerous things that a business can do to ensure they stand the best chance at keeping their doors open long-term. Statistics point to the harsh reality that 50% of businesses fail within the first five years – data that proves, in reality, success is not as guaranteed as many in the business industry would like.
Perhaps it will not come as a surprise to discover that the most important part of any business is actually the quality of its customer service. You might have the best product available in your market right now, but without customer service that does it justice, customers will not remain loyal to your business or brand.
To celebrate the impending National Customer Service Week that takes place next month, we wanted to share our top tips on how to deliver the best customer service possible, at all times. National Customer Service week is aimed at recognising and celebrating excellent customer service and the vital role it plays in successful business practice.
Remember, your customers are the reason you are still in business and ultimately, it is your job to serve each and every one of them to the best of your ability. Emphasising the importance of great customer service to each of your employees should be a priority and below are some things to consider when doing so.
Look for Purpose in Every Interaction
No business likes to receive negative feedback – ever. In a perfect world, every single customer will walk away from your business having had the best possible experience, eager to return when the opportunity arises. But often, that is simply not the case. Things go wrong, employees make mistakes, the market changes…
However, it is important to address negative feedback because your business can learn from it and improve each time it happens. Unhappy customers actually provide your business with a fantastic opportunity – find out why they are upset or disillusioned, then use the information gathered from them to improve on the product or service you deliver going forward.
First Impressions Count
You will struggle to come across anyone who is not familiar with this common phrase and it is popular because it is absolutely true. Studies show that impressions are usually formed within the first ten seconds of interaction, which is rather overwhelming for businesses who are trying their hardest to impress potential customers.
This is why your frontline staff are of huge importance. The sales or service personnel of your business, or simply put, the employees who deal with your customers directly, are the ones who contribute the most to the image of your brand. Your business needs to ensure that it hires the best people for the job, as the way in which your frontline staff engage with customers really can make or break your business.
Important attributes for frontline staff include confidence, friendliness, patience and empathy. The cheapest staff are often not the best people for the job, so consider your employees to be one of your biggest investments. If your business does not have enough working capital to hire the people needed for the job, there are products out there available, such as cash flow finance, that can help with fundamental parts of running a successful business, including hiring an A-class team.
Appreciation Goes A Long Way
Everyone likes to feel appreciated and that is certainly the case when it comes to being a customer dealing with a business. These days, every market place is massively competitive, which means that customers can afford to be picky.
According to eMarketer, customer service is a key aspect that ultimately affects a sale - this is especially the case for SMEs. The good news is that consumers actually favour small businesses due to their increased attention on customer focus. Surprisingly, prices do not play a large role in consumers choosing to opt for small businesses, but instead it is personalised experiences that come out on top of the priority list.
There is no need for elaborate gestures and a relentless flow of freebies – thanking those you do business with and generally showing that you care is often all it takes to retain customers. Check that all copy your customers are interacting with demonstrates that you care about them, so that includes brochures, letters and email communications. The vital things to remember are:
Go the Extra Mile
There is nothing to lose from giving more than expected to your customers, but there is certainly a lot to gain from putting in a little extra effort. There is no secret formula to getting customer service right but realising that it is entirely about helping people, solving their problems and doing it with a smile, will make all the difference.
More often than not, customers will be communicating with your frontline staff because they have a question that needs answering. It is essential to respond to each of these questions diligently but providing additional information that goes beyond their direct inquiry will pave your business out to be a frontrunner when it comes to delivering the best customer service out there.
Thank Those Who Make It All Happen
Without your customers, your business would not be able to continue opening its doors each and every day. But they are not the only ones who matter, as your business would also fail to operate without the staff who represent your brand on a daily basis.
A happy workforce is far more productive, and it is fairly simple to cultivate a happy workplace too. Research has shown time and time again that content, engaged staff are capable of producing higher profits for a business, and of course, a happy employee will certainly engage more positively with your customers than an employee who is disgruntled and underappreciated.
It is essential that the employees in any business feel comfortable and happy in their workplace. Arriving to a rundown, cold or dreary work environment will impact the ability of the employee to get the job done, so if your business has been contemplating an essential move to new premises – do not put it off. Now is the time to do it. With the finance products now available to businesses, such as Business Cash Advance, there really is no excuse to keep putting off the things required to make your business thrive and meet its full potential.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can effectively grow your business.
4 October, 2018