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Author Biography:

Stephanie Taylor Christensen  is a freelance writer who covers personal finance, career, health,and small business news. She is the founder of Indebtedless and Om for Mom prenatal yoga in Columbus, Ohio. Connect with her on Twitter.@STCWriting or www.stephanietaylorchristensen.com



Simple Ways To Create Outstanding Customer Service
By Stephanie Taylor Christensen Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Customer service isn’t just about making sure customers can find items with ease, eliminating long checkout lines, or ensuring that customers are able to reach a live person when they contact your business for help. Though they all contribute to the customer experience, the most important elements of service are about that personal touch your business delivers that makes customers feel seen, understood and valued. 

Here are a few simple ways you can ensure that all of your customers receive outstanding service whether they visit your store, shop online or peruse your booth at a farmer’s market or craft show.

Create signage with the customer in mind. Proactively create a customer-friendly environment by providing customers with the information they need to feel confident in their buying decisions. To create signage with the customer in mind:
  • Use fonts and typeface sizes that are easy for the customer to read from a reasonable distance.
  • Include pricing that’s easy for the customer to decipher. If you offer bundled promotions like “3 soaps for $10” or “Buy one, get one free” indicate whether the customer has to buy all the items to get the promotional price.
  • Write customer-friendly product descriptions. Explain why you include specific ingredients in products, how they are to be used and how they can benefit the customer.
  • Clearly indicate the forms of payment you accept and your purchase policies. Don’t make the customer find out you only accept credit cards for transactions over a certain amount, or that you’re a cash-only operation when they’re at the point of sale, ready to buy. If your merchant name on a customer receipt is different than the one customers associate with your brand, indicate that clearly at the point of sale: You’ll reduce customer confusion, and the risk of merchant chargebacks if customers see a charge on their credit card statement from a business name they don’t recognize. 
Welcome all who express interest. You know the competitive landscape is challenging; be grateful for all of the potential customers who take time out of their day to explore your business. Greet every customer who enters your booth or your shop with eye contact—no matter how busy you are, or whether they appear to be within your “target market.” People will remember how you made them feel far more than they will notice or retain the other elements you invest money into—including your branding, marketing materials and packaging. 

In addition to a warm greeting, customer service expert Bob Wibbs says it’s important to choose your words carefully. Instead of a casual phrase like “How’s it going?” or “How are you guys?” (which can be perceived as insincere and disinterested), he says to lead with “good” followed by the time of day (morning, afternoon, or evening). Wibbs explains that the word “good” inherently sets the tone for a positive interaction. If you’ve met the customer before, add their name to the end of the greeting to indicate you remember them. 

Eliminate inconsistency. Consistent processes build a sense of comfort; you can improve your customer service by eliminating guesswork at every customer touch point:
  • If you have a booth at a local weekly farmer’s market, arrange your signage, products in the booth, location of the booth and your hours the same way at every market.
  • Wear branded uniforms or implement a dress code (such as the same color pants and shirt) that make it easy for customers to identify employees.
  • Try to establish consistent employee schedules so that customers and staff build a mutual recognition, to help build a sense of familiarity and deepen the rapport.
Listen and observe. You’ve heard the phrase “always be closing” to drive sales--but it’s more appropriate to “always be absorbing” when your goal is to provide customer service. When you stop trying to sell customers and focus your attention on their nonverbal “tells” and answers to your questions, you’ll find out which types of products they gravitate to, and why. In turn, you’re armed with all of the information you need in order to speak to their needs in a way that serves them—not your generic sales goals. 

Customers are willing to support businesses that they perceive as being more interested in providing a service, than making a profit. Give customers what they want; the sale will come naturally, when the time is right for the customer. 


 
 
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