Where would we be without entrepreneurs? In a pretty mundane and repetitive world, no doubt. But is it enough to focus on innovation and development alone? Where do customer service responsibilities fit in? Here we share some helpful information and advice for entrepreneurs on the benefits of having good customer service skills, and explain why every entrepreneur should also be a customer service guru.
Calling all entrepreneurs – brush up on your customer service skills
The ultimate balance entrepreneurs must strike is a combination of innovation and customer needs. You are not only responsible for your business idea, its development and success, but you are also accountable to the customers that rely on the products and services you offer. The relationship you create with customers through good service can’t be replicated as it is unique and in line with your company’s ethos. So, this is a chance to contend with competitors and stand out for all the right reasons.
The same way a kind gesture from a stranger can turn them into a friend, so too can good customer service turn one-time customers into loyal ones. It can be the small gestures and the easily overlooked things that ensure customer retention. The key point to remember here is that happy, satisfied customers spread positivity via word of mouth (or more currently, ‘word of mouse’, as consumers turn to social media, blogs and review sites to share their experiences). By delivering good customer service alongside your product or service, you will be more likely to attract new business and grow your existing customer base via word of mouth.
Key customer service tips
Tony Robinson, OBE, author of Freedom from Bosses Forever, outlines the golden rules of entrepreneurship to include flexibility, being street-wise, and being prepared to lose everything. But what about the golden rules of customer service?
Anticipate customer’s needs. Providing excellent customer service means knowing your customers and being able to anticipate what they want. Being one step ahead means you will always impress.
Make every customer feel special. Pretend that each customer is your first – woo them like they’re your most valued customer, as who knows, they might end up being just that.
Courtesy, patience and respect. Retraining yourself to focus on your customers and not just your entrepreneurial ventures can be challenging, but showing respect and care towards your customers will be time well spent when they become loyal customers.
Entrepreneurial mind-set applies to customer care
The same way you identify which ideas to pursue in a quest for innovation, you should also identify which types of customer service will help you succeed in achieving customer retention and loyalty. Focusing on what you do well in terms of your products or services can be applied to customer service too. British retailers John Lewis and Marks & Spencer are known for their focus on customer relationships and service, but you should choose specific elements of customer service to focus on, such as responsiveness or openness, and flourish that way. For example, the cosmetics company Lush puts emphasis on training friendly, positive and approachable staff, which can be noticed each time you step into one of their stores.
Prospective customers are more educated and aware of customer service standards than ever before, with the platform of complaints so widespread and accessible. This means you have to stand out from the crowd – the same way you wanted your product or service to when you first conceived your entrepreneurial idea. Know your customer – know what kind of service they want, better than the next company.