I had written a post a while back on why businesses in Kenya should improve their customer services in Kenya. So I decided to write another post on customer service; this time the focus will be on some ways to improve customer service. These are a few ways that I work on customer service in my Bakery business and they are effective methods. Customer service is always a process you should constantly be improving and innovating. These five ways are good ways to get started.
1. Get feedback from your customers/clients soon after purchase of products or services.
When your customer purchases a product from you, or after you provide a service for them; make sure you contact them 2 to 5 days later. Get feedback from them on what they thought of the product or service and if they have any suggestions on how your business can improve both in product and service delivery. This will help you to perfect your product and services over a period of time and offer them more effectively and with better quality. If there are any complaints, you will be able to respond to the situation and remedy it effectively. This is better than waiting to hear from your customer, especially to complain. When a product, or service has a problem or is of bad quality, most customers don’t bother to complain to the business, they just never return and you lose a customer for life. Make sure you keep a record of your customers and their suggestions or complaints; this makes it easier to review customer opinions on your products or services and work on their quality.
2. Offer extra services that bring convenience to your customers, they will remember your business/brand
In order to create brand loyalty, to keep your customers loyal to you; you have to make sure your business is memorable to your customers. A great way of achieving that is offering extra services that will offer convenience to your customers. Examples are; offering delivery of your products to your customers in your business area or offering extra content/information to your customers in form of pamphlets, brochures or booklets when products or services are delivered. You can also offer gift wrapping services for their loved ones, or message cards with deliveries. Find extra services or actions to do in order to cultivate brand loyalty, this will keep customers coming back to you, which is great for your business sales ^_^!
3. Respond to all your customer complaints by keeping track of all customer platforms
Customers can purchase products or services from you and if they have a complaint, different customers may choose different ways to communicate their displeasure. If a complaint is received via phone e.g. text or call, make sure you respond immediately to the complaint and address it at once. Some customers may choose to post their complaints on your social media sites e.g. Facebook or Twitter pages. If the post is public, respond to the post in a professional way and then resolve the matter privately with the customer (e.g. move the conversation to the inbox or direct message, this makes sure the issue does not escalate publicly). If the customer complains on social media, but privately, try as much as possible to contact the person – text or call, and resolve the matter as efficiently as possible. I have had customers who have complained and when I responded efficiently, they have become loyal customers due to the way in which their complaint was handled. When you listen to your customer’s complaint and respond to it, the person feels important and he/she feels glad that you responded to their issue. This will create a lasting positive impression on your customer and that feeling will be associated with your brand/business.
4. Create a Customer loyalty program to reward your loyal customers
If you’re able to, create a simple rewards program to show appreciation to your loyal customers. If you’ve been running your start-up for over a year or more and you have customers who have been with you and supporting your business for that length of time, it’s good to find a way to reward their loyalty. You can create a simple rewards program in which you can award points on their purchases and reward them after they achieve certain point levels with free products or large discounts on your products or services. This will motivate your customers to keep purchasing from your business, knowing that they can redeem free or highly discounted products or services from you over time. Make sure you plan well and execute the program effectively, this will increase your sales from your loyal customers which are shown to be quite high in the long run.
5. Always appreciate your customers
In business, your goal should always be to create loyalty to your brand or business. So for all those customers who come back, make sure you show them appreciation. You can do this in many different ways; you can offer discounts on social media sites (e.g. Facebook or Twitter) and your website. You can offer monthly or weekly discounts or promotions. You can also go an extra mile for a frequent customer. A great example is for our bakery deliveries, we don’t operate on Sundays but for loyal customers, we make exceptions and deliver on Sunday if the customer really requires the product or service on that day. If your business is a shop that delivers flowers, you can offer to write message notes to the flower recipients as a free service. You can also offer to add a bow on the bouquet for free for your loyal customers. There are many simple ways of appreciating your customers, make sure it’s an action that will be helpful to your customers and will create a lasting impression to them. This is how you build brand loyalty.
If you have any more suggestions on how to improve customer service in a small business, please feel free to share below.