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One of the best tips for small business is to maximize their presence on the internet.  A small company can gain great exposure by utilizing social media, for example.  More and more people – consumers – are using social media not only to communicate and share details about their personal lives, but also to relay experiences, both positive and negative, regarding customer service.  This platform also enables a more immediate resolution to a consumer’s issue.  The more efficient a company can process the needs of its customer, the more transactions it is able to process and therefore more likely to increase sales and expand business.  As a result, it can increase profit!  All businesses, small businesses especially, should maximize the benefit of the social media environment by monitoring Twitter, Facebook and reviews and/or comments on their website in order to respond promptly when necessary.

Another tip for small businesses to increase quality of customer service is to invest in software which tracks customer habits.  This software can enable a company to reach out and reward a frequent customer with special discounts on products or services, and in turn can solidify a customer’s loyalty to their brand.  It can also track former customers who may appreciate and be lured back with similar promotions.

A main key to providing effective customer service is knowledgeable representatives.  Educated employees are best able to serve customers in a timely, appropriate manner.  An informed customer service agent can better assist a customer in choosing the right product or service, therefore making it more likely a customer will make a purchase and/or return to the store or website.  Empowering one’s staff creates the best opportunity for both repeat business and positive referrals.

Still another sign of effective customer service is good personal skills among employees.  Customer service agents are ambassadors for a brand.  Commanding their best possible personal skills will enable an employee to make a customer feel welcome as opposed to an inconvenience.  If a customer has a complaint, it is important for a customer service representative to hear it in its entirety, both to better and more efficiently assist the customer, and also to let the customer know he or she cares about the issue and its resolution.  How customer service agents interact with customers or clients can also influence those surrounding them.  Make sure their observations are positive!

There are many benefits of good customer service, first and foremost repeat business, which is especially important for growing a small business.  Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, according to studies on the rewards of effective customer service.  Another figure worth noting is that 80% of consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience.  These statistics show just how important good service and support are to consumers, as well as how important it is to keep them satisfied.  It is 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one.

An equally important benefit of good customer service is customer referrals.  Effective customer service gains trust with current clients and builds a referral system.   The same studies report that 78% of online customers recommend a brand to friends and other contacts after a great customer experience.  In addition to referring to those we know, a company which can allow a customer to review a product or service can influence others who visit the brand’s website and potentially make or break future sales.