3 min read

How to Improve SMB Customer Service

These statistics prove the value of investments in customer service and show why all small businesses need to continuously improve service.
How to Improve SMB Customer Service

Customer service is vital, but severely overlooked. Just about every small business owner, manager and operator will talk about how important it is, but few actually follow through on these words with action.

In this post, I’ll share statistics on why investment in customer service is important and ideas on how to improve customer service at your small business to help reenergize your efforts on serving customers.

Let’s get right to it.

Why You Should Invest in Customer Service

These 4 statistics prove the value of investing in the customer experience and show why all businesses need to make it a focus area:

  1. Over 85% of customers will stop doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
  2. 90% of people claim that positive online reviews influence buying decisions, while 86% said their buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews.
  3. A 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in the value of a company.
  4. 70% of perceived customer experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.

Customers care about their experience, as felt through your customer service, and they vote with their feet and wallets. The four stats above show that better customer service leads to more customers, higher customer retention and greater business value, and that this is driven by how they feel they are treated.

Enough said.

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How to Improve Customer Service

There are lots of ways to improve customer service. For example, the first thing everyone will think of is employee training. Let me suggest two more left field techniques that will set your business apart from the pack:

  • Think about the moments between the moments: Map out every interaction your customer has with your business before, during and after purchase, and then think of every enhancement you can make between these interactions. For example, if you run a landscaping business you might want to consider how a customer might get more excited as they anticipate their finished garden (you can send progress pictures or concept photos to get them excited). Don’t just let them wait without leveraging these moments.
  • Design a 12-star experience: Here’s how this works: think to yourself or brainstorm with your team, “What does a 5-star experience look and feel like for our customers?” Then continually add a star and ask yourself the same question. “What does a 6-star experience look like?” How about 7-stars? You get the idea. For example, if you run a hotel then a 5-star experience might include a clean room with fresh sheets and towels, and a mint on the pillow. Jumping to a 10-star experience may entail a complimentary pickup service from the airport.

Get the team or your close confidants together and start thinking through these exercises. Brainstorm multiple ideas, and try to approach it from as many different angles as possible. You’re sure to have some great customer service ideas that you can implement.

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How to Maximize Your Investment in Customer Service

In short, improve your responsiveness to customers. For example, in the foodservice industry most restaurants miss some some high impact and easy to execute opportunities to appease customers:

  1. When dealing with negative reviews, only 23% of restaurant owners or managers reach out directly to the person who gave the feedback.
  2. Just 15% of restaurant owners or managers use customer feedback when giving performance reviews to front-of-house or back-of-house staff.
  3. Over 20% of restaurant owners or managers don’t take action when receiving negative customer feedback.
  4. While 50% of consumers expect a response on social media within 30 minutes, only 50% of restaurants meet this expectation.

Once you have generated ideas and invested in customer service, you need to make sure your investment pays off. The approach to this is simple: respond to every customer interaction and turn them in your favor.

Final Thoughts

Customer service is king. So is cash. Being a small business owner, manager or operator means you know that there are many competing priorities, and they’re all important.

The statistics and arguments here are simply meant to remind you what you already know: you must continually invest in improving customer service.

I hope this has motivated you to get to action today!

Before you go...

We all know that small business is about doing the little things right.

The little optimisations, the high-impact tweaks and the 1% gains you can make to your business to make it a little better, a little more profitable and even a little bit more pleasant to run.

I have interviewed 500+ business owners, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to improve their business. There are three that stand out above the rest and I want to share them with you.

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