When designing a plan to grow your business, one of the first items on the to-do list should be to examine the quality of your customer service. Let’s face it, you can offer top notch product, but if the customers aren’t satisfied with the service they receive, they won’t stick around long enough to know just how good your product is. Customer Service can make or break any company – big or small – and should always be high on the list of any company’s priorities.

A few things to consider when looking at the quality of your customer service:

  • Good communication is imperative. Make sure you are listening to your customers to know what they want/expect. Be open to their suggestions and make them feel comfortable to come to you with both new ideas and constructive criticism. On the other side of that coin – make sure you are clearly stating the services you can provide that will benefit them.
  • The customer is the boss. In any service industry it is imperative to remember that you do not exist without customers. If a customer wants something done a certain way and you have a different way of doing it, you can suggest your way but in the end, their way wins out.
  • Apologies. First, let me say that no matter how conscientious you are mistakes will happen. One of the most powerful yet underrated tools you can have is the art of the business apology. There is a difference between a business apology and a personal one. In a business apology, not only must you acknowledge your error, you must make sure that you let them know the steps you’ve taken to correct it and what measures you’ve implemented to ensure that it won’t happen again.
  • Focus on the internal as well as the external. It is important that you and your employees have a strong working knowledge of your product and have the skill to exchange that knowledge with your customers. Next, remember that your employees are the face of your company, and as such, they need to feel that they are an integral part of your business. If you keep your employees happy, they will in turn keep your customers happy.
  • Give your customers more than they expect…go the extra mile. Examine how you can elevate your company’s performance and offer the customer services that exceed their expectations. Be forward-thinking in anticipation of what products or services will best aid the customer in his or her own business. It will make a lasting impression on them. If they aren’t buying at the moment, they will remember that you went above and beyond and are more likely to choose your company when the time comes. Equally as important, once they are a customer, they will be able to refer other colleagues to your company with confidence.

The bottom line is this – keep the customer happy and the customer will stay loyal to your company. The goal for any growing business is to bring in new customers, but the true strength lies in the ability to please and retain the existing ones.