We are enduring a very long and hard recession, one that has many business owners and managers worried. Your client base is going to decrease, the amount of your revenue will decrease and finally you will lose workers. There is one item that is 100% in your control and will dictate how well you do after the smoke has cleared. That’s right customer service is the key to success during a recession. Increased sales, increased labor force and revenue are nicer but not normal and common in this economic downturn.
Customer service is basic courtesy and 100% in you and your employees’ control, which makes it nice because you can therefore control your rebound.
Why is it important?
Service is in most cases the reason your customers will come back, it may not be the main reason they come in to begin with but I promise you it is a very big part of why they will come back to you the second and third time around. In a bad economy, we all know that consumer spending is scarce and so are resources so people are not likely to go places they don’t like going to. This holds especially true for retail businesses and restaurants. If you enjoy shopping at Macy’s or enjoy dining at the Olive Garden, you are likely to go back if the service is great but are very likely to never go back again if the service is poor. You already agreed to go there because you have already done your research about price and affordability and therefore the only thing that can keep you from going back is the product or the service. Consumers will forgive a bad product if the service is impeccable but will not be so forgiving of bad service.
Here are some basic tips that should hold true for any business:
1. Treat your customers as you would want to be treated
2. Be polite and make sure your staff is equally polite
3. Make sure you are all patient and understanding
4. Body language can say what you think, be careful
5. Allow your customers to make mistakes
6. Open 5 min early, close 10 min late
7. Apologize for your mistakes
8. Check for satisfaction
9. Go the extra mile
10. Don’t nickel and dime them
11. Smile and be engaged
Ensure you and your staff is fully knowledgeable in your product or service.
The most common mistake made here is not by managers and owners but rather by their employees whose engagement level is nowhere near what they should be. This is very normal and is a common tale of blue and white collar work and the differences between the two. Make sure your employees live your brand daily and share the same level of enthusiasm towards their customers as you do. If they love what they do, they will give all your customers top of the line service that will keep them coming back often.
If you have any questions about coaching, motivating or simply providing great service, please leave us a comment or email us.