1. Money

Customer Service Tips From Two Top Retailers

Part 1: Customer Service Tips From Sleep Country Canada

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Customer service sells. Offline and online, customers are looking for hassle-free, convenient, pleasant shopping. “Gone are the days when the customer overlooked poor service because the price was discounted. Finding ways to exceed the customers' expectations is the key” (Terry Wooten, “Providing Good Customer Service”).

Sleep Country Canada is one example of a Canadian retailer that has found ways to do this.

Have you ever seen a Sleep Country Canada ad? Like many successful ads, they feature testimonials by satisfied customers. But listen closely. Why are these customers so satisfied? They’re talking about the service, not the product. They say things such as, “They came to deliver my mattress just when they said they would.” And “I was so impressed when I saw the men putting on those little booties before they walked into my house.”

Christine Magee, the president of Sleep Country Canada, knows that good customer service is important to her business' potential customers. She also knows that there are a lot of other companies that sell mattresses. But the way Sleep Country Canada delivers the mattresses they sell provides an illustration of our first customer service tip:

1) Provide customer service that distinguishes your business from your competitors.

The best product in the world is just going to stay on the shelves and get dusty if you don’t support it with customer service that makes your product "better" than the identical product offered by the competition.

The success of Sleep Country Canada also illustrates the power of word-of-mouth. Good customer service not only makes your customer want to come back and do more business with your company; it also encourages your customer to recommend your business to his or her friends. The second customer service tip we can draw from Sleep Country Canada's example is:

2) Solicit and use testimonials from your satisfied customers.

Authentic testimonials from actual satisfied customers can be very powerful sales tools. But most customers, no matter how satisfied, won't think to volunteer their endorsement. So ask them - and then use their testimonials to encourage others to try your products or services. The third customer service tip that Sleep Country Canada's customer service practices provides is a very simple one, but it's at the core of delivering good customer service:

3) Deliver on your customer service promises.

In the Sleep Country Canada example, it's delivering a mattress on time. For your business, it might be showing up to do an estimate when you said you would, or dealing with a complaint expeditiously. Customer service that falls through on the follow through is no customer service at all.

Sears Canada is another top retailer that small businesses concerned about customer service might emulate. Continue on to the next page to see what customer service tips this top retailer's customer service practices provide.

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