Almost every company, whether they're big or small, has a customer service department — or at the very least an owner who wears the customer service hat on a daily basis.
A small business can actually become big based on their customer service. Before you start laughing at the idea, let's take a look at the differences we see in small business customer service versus the customer service we see in the larger companies.
The bigger they are — the harder they fall. This rings true with the larger companies and their customer service. Call a big company with a complaint and you'll rarely get a satisfactory resolution. In fact, you might hang up before you even reach a human because they keep you embroiled on their automated system until you finally feel defeated and chalk it up to a lesson learned.
Customers can lose interest in a company fast if they don't get their complaints taken care of in a timely manner. A small business owner can offer personalized complaint resolution in a timely manner.
Policies are a pitfall. The larger companies generally have some kind of policy in place to protect themselves — the fine print you forgot to read when you bought the product.
The smaller business owner tends to stand by his product or service, or is so intent on growing his business that he delivers above and beyond your expectations to ensure that you remain loyal to his brand.
Make sure you treat every customer the same and provide the kind of customer care you'd want to have if it was you on the other end of the line making the call. Sometimes, you might lose a customer based on his or her dissatisfaction, but don't let it cause you to tarnish your reputation by being rude or negative with them. Continue being polite, because even though you didn't meet their needs, they could recommend someone to you in the future whose needs you will meet.
Customer service is meant to help support the customer whenever they have questions or problems. When you address them as a person and not a case number they're more likely to come back and do business with you again.
The small business owner has the advantage in this respect. Their business focus is on their customers and getting them to come back. Larger companies have the luxury of seeing an influx of new customers every day, so they're sometimes not as concerned with keeping the old ones happy. Take advantage of your small business status and go big on customer service or it could be the one thing holding you back from achieving growth in your company.