10 Customer Service Tips to Help Your Small Business Stand Out

Updated: Dec 25, 2019

small business customer service tips

Whether you’re planning your next venture or have an established small business, there’s one thing to keep in mind: You must provide exceptional customer service to keep clients happy and loyal to your brand. The challenge for small businesses is that many lack essential resources, such as a fully-fledged customer support department, while still going up against some heavy hitters. No, you may not be part of the Fortune 500 club who have unlimited cash flow and high-end infrastructure. But, the good news is that with the right help desk software and structured customer service training, you can get closer to your customers without spending the big bucks.

The proof is in the numbers: 80% of consumers are willing to pay for a better experience. On the other end of the stick, 91% of customers who had a bad experience won’t do business with your company ever again. When you're a small business in a sea of big competitors, you just can’t afford to lose customers. So, how do you develop a customer-centric mindset and set the bar high? Continue reading to discover expert tips to help your small business stand out from the industry.

1. Personalize your customer experience

If you want to attract and retain customers, it means providing a consistent level of service like no other. We all crave a tailor-made experience whether it be purchasing a bicycle or a cup of coffee. Take Starbucks, a company that started as your local coffee joint and ended up spreading like wildfire worldwide. One simple technique they use is writing their customers’ names on their drink cups and then yelling them out loud when the order is ready. The baristas could just yell out ‘Iced Mocha Coconut Milk Latte,’ but that’s impersonal. Research shows that when participants hear their own name it can make an experience more memorable. And that alone can drive customer loyalty.

The same can be applied when providing assistance on a global scale. Leveraging customer interactions from your help desk software is a good place to start. Customers don’t just want answers to their questions, they want you to be one step ahead. For example, if you believe another product can add value and enhance their experience, recommend it! In your reply, you can provide them with additional information from knowledge base articles to visuals (e.g. how-to tutorials, screenshots, GIFs).

2. Be present on all channels

Over the last twenty years, customer service has moved forward dramatically. Before the Internet, if we needed assistance with a product or service, we’d call the company or simply drive over to the store for a face-to-face conversation. Then, the nineties came along with its sidekick, the Internet. Now customers demand instant answers through a plethora of channels. Fast-forward to 2006, the smartphone made its big entrance, along with social media outlets. These additions have forever changed the way businesses market and support their customers.

If you want to make a long-lasting impression on your clients, then be prepared to be present. This includes providing excellent customer service on your social media outlets, and answering tickets, calls and chats from your help desk software. The best advice? Don’t slack on responding to them. This will only result in the customer feeling ignored or worse, abandoning you for good.

3. Welcome customer feedback

Listening to what your customers have to say about your business is essentially the best way to improve your product or service. Truth be told, when people know they’re being heard, they feel more inclined to do business with you as they value a brand that listens. However, the real challenge small businesses face is finding the right tools to collect this feedback. To set it in motion, your business needs to proactively reach out and provide them with the right outlets to express their thoughts. Here are a few ways to gather their insightful ideas:

  • Customer surveys. This is one of the most affordable and efficient ways for clients to share their opinions. Compose a list of straightforward questions that can be presented as open text feedback: “What can our employees do better when it comes to providing support?” Or questions based on a satisfaction scale: “From 1 to 10 (1 - unsatisfied to 10 - very satisfied), how satisfied are you with our customer support?” These can be sent to your mailing list, appear after you submit a support ticket, or on your dedicated social media channel.

  • Feature requests. You’ve set up multi-channel support for your small business. Then, you start receiving tickets, calls and live chats concerning a missing feature. With feature request articles, customers will be able to vote for the features they want. This simplistic yet beneficial help center tool provides decision-makers in your small business the ability to track and prioritize clients’ pain points.

  • Social media. There are billions of people globally engaged in various social media outlets (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) so it only makes sense you’ll find your existing - and potential - customers there, too. Social media isn’t just for posting flashy marketing promotions. Big or small, many businesses today have established customer service on social media to assist users and collect both positive and negative feedback. However, sifting through this ‘raw data’ can unquestionably be overwhelming and time-consuming. With social media monitoring tools, along with a good help desk software’s social integrations such as Zapier, you’ll get a hold of the wave of tweets, mentions and posts from your customers.