For small business owners, personalized customer service is a key strength when competing against big box retailers and larger companies. Not only does high-quality customer service encourage customer loyalty, it also increases customer referrals and word-of-mouth advertising. Here are 4 tips to show you how to add a personal touch to your customer service strategy.
1. Collect and organize relevant customer information.
The first step to building a personalized customer service strategy is collecting and organizing customer information. Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the most powerful way to do this, but that can be expensive. For cash-strapped businesses with smaller customer bases, a spreadsheet is a good start.
Most importantly, make sure you’re collecting information that is relevant and valuable to your customer interactions. In addition to standard information like name, contact information, and purchase history, consider what other details might improve your customers’ experiences. “For instance, if you’re a spa, it makes sense to know when your customer got their last facial, what products they prefer, the technician, and even what they like to drink if your spa serves beverages.
2. Streamline interactions across channels.
If a customer writes you an email and follows up with a phone call, your customer service needs to able to keep up.
Keeping track of conversations across communication channels is key. That way, when our customers change channels, you don’t have to start the conversation over and rediscover who they are, what they need, and how we should address them.
CRM software can also assist small business owners with this. If customers frequently interact with multiple employees, it’s even more important to track interactions. Having a historical view of past communications is important. If another employee needs to jump in and help, they don’t have to ask the customer for past info or ask the last team member who helped the customer, “What happened last time you talked?’”
3. Avoid automation.
Automated responses to phone calls, emails, and social media posts can help large businesses keep up with a high volume of inquiries, but personalized communication is one of the primary benefits for customers of small businesses. Whenever possible, respond directly to customer questions and complaints with a personalized message from an actual employee or manager.
4. Go the extra mile.
In addition to personalized communication, small business owners can connect with customers through personalized services that larger companies can’t provide. Doctor’s offices can now provide apps that reminds patients when to take their medications.
Any or all of these tips can help you to create a more personalized experience for your customer. In today’s day and age that’s what it’s all about. Personalization!