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by:UMeasure     2020-04-07
Last update: In September 29, 2014, in today\'s tough economy, small business owners face the daunting task of doing more with less money.
Ed Hess reminded them that although they may cut prices and budgets, it is not the time to start cutting quality customer service from their business plans.
The U. S.
For many small business owners, this means that business is not fully prosperous.
Forced to do more with less money, small businesses that successfully survive or even thrive in these tough times have recognized an important factor: You can\'t always compete on prices, but you can compete in service.
The best thing about excellent customer service is that it doesn\'t take an extra penny to provide it.
Ed Hess explains that when your competitors are competing for customers, you have to hold on to your customers, starting with excellent customer service.
\"Today\'s small business owners need to understand that reducing costs will not save their businesses,\" said Hess, author of the new book \"Growing up a startup: Concepts and Cases (
Stanford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8047714-1-2, $75. 00, www. EDHLTD. com)
Professor at the University of Virginia\'s Darton business school.
\"Remember, customers are concerned about their financial security.
They need to feel cherished and special when they walk into a business.
They need to \"embrace\" with excellent customer service \".
Customers don\'t want to get the bottom-of-the-
Oil prices wherever they go, but they do want to be respected.
\"Good customer service is not just happening.
It starts with staff trained in Service Science.
\"Your employees will treat your customers like they do to the leaders,\" explains Hess . \".
\"Treat employees in a respectful, caring way, which will be transferred to the customer.
Harvard, Stanford, business studies at the University of Michigan, and my research at the Darden Business School all found that happy employees serve happy customers.
Hess pointed out that Southwest Airlines, UPS, chick-fil-
Best Buy, best win!
Brand, Starbucks, Ritz hotel-
Carlton, Levi\'s, Costco, Zappos and Whole Foods understand the importance of employee relationships.
For example, in Best Buy culture, customers are \"Kings and Queens\", employees are \"royal members\" and managers and leaders are \"servant leaders\" who serve employees and customers \". At Ritz-
Carlton\'s staff is \"Ladies and gentlemen who serve ladies and gentlemen.
\"Today, not every enterprise has received customer service correctly, but not every enterprise is wrong.
Fortunately, for any small business owner who wants to improve customer service, valuable lessons can be learned from both good and bad aspects.
Hess provides examples from his own experience and teaches what can be learned from the good and bad aspects of customer service.
Small business owners should have lasers in times of economic hardship
Focus on excellent customer service and make every effort to ensure that customers are respected and loved.
After all, research shows that attracting new customers is much more expensive than retaining existing ones.
So it\'s important that business owners do everything they can to make their current customers happy.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
\"I recently went to a local coffee shop and bought my wife her favorite latte,\" said Hess . \".
\"I ordered the wine, paid for it, and waited for it.
When the staff gave it to me, she said she was sorry, but they ran out of skim milk and the cup was less than 2/3 full.
That\'s it.
She turned around and went on to the next customer.
I was standing there thinking, but I paid a big cup!
She should not make her question my question, but should offer to refund a portion of my money, or better still, she can give me a coupon for a free drink on another dayNope. Nothing.
Pay for the full Cup;
Get 2/3 cups . . . . . . Better luck next time.
Needless to say, I have not been to that coffee shop.
\"Remember, dissatisfied customers will not complain;
They just don\'t come back.
If you don\'t give your customers the courtesy to take the time to provide them with quality service, they won\'t take the time to tell you how to improve your business.
\"Also keep in mind that unhappy customers may tell others about their bad experiences, other than not going back to your company,\" said Hess . \".
\"A chain reaction with only one bad customer service experience can be very harmful.
Ensure that your employees provide excellent customer service at all times.
Provide special training for front-line employees.
Employees who interact directly with customers are critical to your business.
\"Their attitude, communication skills, and service style are what your customers will connect with your business,\" explains Hess . \".
\"Make sure your employees are trained to handle potential stress tasks working with customers.
\"Make sure the customer is happy before moving to the next customer.
In many small businesses, such as the coffee shop in the above example, customers value not only quality service, but also fast service.
But you can\'t sacrifice one for another.
\"It\'s important to make sure a customer is satisfied before you go to the next person,\" said Hess . \".
\"It\'s like asking \'what else can I do for you today? It\'s as simple as that.
Remember, when you think you \'ve done it, you haven\'t done the job of serving your customers yet.
When the customer is completely satisfied, you complete the service for the customer.
\"Make up for the mistake.
Never cheat your customers.
\"If you make a mistake or other situation that prevents you from providing the best level of customer service, find a way to make up for your customers,\" said Hess . \".
\"In the above example, if the staff of the store offered to make up for the fact that I got less than I ordered, I would be happy to continue to the coffee shop.
But the staff made me feel very short. This is not the feeling that any customer wants to repeat.
\"Provide solutions.
Never treat your business problems or employee problems as a problem for your customers.
\"At the coffee shop, the staff who served me may not be the person responsible for the store\'s inventory,\" Hess noted . \".
\"So maybe she doesn\'t think there\'s anything she can do to correct the situation.
But this is not the case.
When your employees are unable to meet their needs, give them the freedom to provide solutions to your customers.
For example, as I mentioned above, she can offer coupons for free drinks and even free pastries.
She could have told me the question before I ordered and asked if I had the drink I wanted to replace.
Any offer is better than simply having one --luck-next-time attitude.
\"Companies that know about quality customer service and Zappos do exist.
Com is one of them.
\"Recently I ordered some shoes from Zappos that didn\'t fit,\" said Hess . \".
\"I send them back using the prepaid shipping form provided.
I got an email right away.
The Mail admitted that my shoes were shipped back to Zappos and I could keep track of their progress on the Internet.
When they received it at Zappos, I got another email
The email tells me that my refund is being processed and thanks for shopping at Zappos.
I sent them a reply to thank them for their excellent service.
Soon after that, I received a personal email
An email from a customer service representative to me, thank you for telling me about the customer that Zappos likes it.
She upgraded me to Zappos VIP website. Wow!
I feel cared for and appreciated. And guess what?
I ordered a different pair of shoes online.
Zappos did it.
\"I\'m glad it\'s about them: your employees and your customers,\" explains Hess . \".
\"It\'s not long to cut employee benefits or customer service benefits --
Plan for the duration of survival.
This may give you the chance to stay a little longer in the game, but it won\'t make you a winner.
In today\'s economy, you have to do everything you can to keep your customers and encourage them to continue to come back to your business.
There is no better way than through consistently excellent customer service.
\"You may not always be able to be lower than your competitors,\" he concluded . \".
\"But you can make the experience of doing business with you better than everyone else.
Never be afraid to improve your customer service!
About the Author: Edward D.
Hess is the author of \"growing and starting a business: Concepts and Cases (
Stanford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8047714-1-2, $75. 00, www. EDHLTD. com)
Professor of Business Administration and Batten executivesin-
She lives at the University of Virginia\'s Darton business school.
He is the author of 9 books, more than 60 cases and more than 60 articles.
His book smart growth: Building a lasting business by managing the risk of growth (
Columbia Business School Press, 2010, ISBN: 978-0-2311505-0-7, $27. 95, www. EDHLTD. com)
Rated by Inc as the top 2010 business book for business ownersmagazine.
A book on \"growing and starting a business: Concepts and Cases (
Stanford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-8047714-1-2, $75. 00, www. EDHLTD. com)
There is in Amazon. com.
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