Inviting service key for small biz

Dec 22, 2016 By Sarah Hamlin

We all know that good customer service is important. Regardless of whether you own a bricks and mortar, online or service-based business, good customer service is vital to your success.

Interacting with your customers and potential customers in a way that is helpful and informed is one of the quickest ways for you to build relationships, creating repeat customers. It's busy for small-business owners during the holiday season. Here are some strategies to help put your best foot forward:

Make sure your staff is informed about the ads that are running, updates in your catalog and any online promotions. An uninformed salesperson cannot address the questions and concerns of your customer. This is the perfect opportunity to show off your knowledgeable staff as one asset over the competition.

- Make your store comfortable. Experiment with lowering the temperature of your store to accommodate customers wearing their winter clothing. Offer cold or hot drinks, based on the weather. Allow customers to leave items up front while they continue to shop, or provide them with a basket as they walk around your store.

- Greet everyone who walks through the door. Challenge your employees to make this fun, inviting and engaging for your customer.

- Encourage your staff members to introduce themselves to customers (by name) when they walk in or answer the phone. This provides an extra special touch that helps build a trusting relationship between your staff and customers.

- Educate your staff on what other events and sales are happening around town. For every $100 spent in our communities, $68 stays locally. By reminding customers what other products or services they can get locally, you are helping to encourage the "shop small" mentality that makes all of us successful.

- Good customer service, especially in a busy season, is what customers will remember about you. It is one of the reasons that they will come back and shop with you again.

Take this holiday season to build good customer service habits that will benefit you all year long.