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Customer Service Guide for Small Business

What Good Customer Service Is and How to Provide It All the Time

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Good customer service increases sales.

Good customer service increases sales.

Image (c) RL Productions / Getty Images

Customer service is critical to small businesses. Good customer service can be the difference between being able to compete and survive and failing. So I'm continually amazed at how many small business owners take a "wing and a prayer" approach to good customer service in their business; they hire what they think are good people and just assume that they'll do the right things – often without even bothering to do any customer service training.

This customer service guide is designed to take a more systematic approach to good customer service. The articles here will teach you what good customer service is and give you tools to assess and improve customer service in your small business.

Customer Service Basics

  • Customer Service Basics: How to Help a Customer
    On the other hand, a customer seeking help is the most common customer service interaction. Here’s how to get this customer service interaction right. (You might want to use this information on how to provide good customer service to educate your staff and evaluate their customer service performance.)
  • 8 Rules for Good Customer Service
    Following these eight simple rules will ensure that your business becomes known for its good customer service and allow you to reap the benefits that good customer service provides.

Good Customer Service Tips

  • 10 Customer Service Tips
    The big money isn't as much in winning customers as in keeping customers - and the key to keeping customers is the level of customer service you provide. Liz Tahir presents ten customer service tips that will keep them coming back.
  • How to Provide Customer Service That Outshines Your Competitors
    Good customer service will keep your customers coming back. But there's a step beyond that, the kind of customer service that gives you the edge over your competitors and brings in new customers. Here's how you can implement customer service that outshines.
  • Customer Service Tips From Two Top Retailers
    Small businesses can learn a lot about good customer service from bigger businesses. Find out what lessons about customer service you can apply to your own business from the success of Sleep Country Canada and Sears.
  • Phone Answering Tips to Win Business
    The telephone is the first point of contact with customers for many businesses. But if you don't answer the phone the right way, you'll lose business instead of gaining it. Here are "winning ways" to answer the phone.

Dealing With Customer Complaints and Returns

  • Customer Complaints Create Profit
    By listening carefully to customer complaints, we can identify opportunities for training employees, improving products and services, educating customers - and improving our business's bottom line. Mary Sandro explains how to turn customer complaints into opportunities.
  • Good Customer Service Means Losing the Battle
    Too many customer service representatives are sabotaging business's good customer service because they can't resist getting the last word in. Kelley Robertson explains how to keep customer complaints from escalating into customer crises that hurt your bottom line.
  • Tips for Handling Store Returns
    To make the store return a positive customer experience, you need to be sure both your return policy and your return process match your customer service goals. These tips for handling store returns will ensure you're providing customer service rather than disservice.
  • Your Client is Livid! 5 Lessons on Client Management
    Have you ever run into problems that resulted in a tense relationship between you and a client? These five lessons about client relationship management from Marshall Zierkel will help you minimize conflict as it arises and add value to you in your clients’ eyes.

Gathering Feedback About Your Customer Service

  • Put Some Extra Eyes on Your Customer Service
    To find out if your business is providing the good customer service you want it to provide, you need to get some outside views. Here are some tips for finding out what your customers and/or clients think of your customer service.
  • Customer Service Survey
    This short customer service survey questionnaire is designed to provide insight into the transaction between your business's staff and your customers. It's a general customer service survey that you can use to get feedback about face-to-face customer service interactions.
  • Guide to Do-It-Yourself Market Research
    How do you find out what they're doing or what they want? Here's how to do your own market research to stay on top of the competition and in touch with your customers.

How to Improve Customer Service

  • Customer Service Makeover
    This Customer Service Makeover focuses on making sure that your small business provides the kind of customer service that builds customer loyalty, gives positive word-of-mouth advertising, and increases sales – in short, the good, better or even superior customer service that consumers want.

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