Small Business Saturday Blog

5 Customer Experience Tips for Small Businesses

Thursday, April 28 at 18:22

Oftentimes, small businesses stand out with their exceptional customer service. In the age of mobile, customer service matters even more - many experts call it a new marketing as the word of mouth can reach thousands of people at lightning speed.
Customer service plays a huge role in a customer’s loyalty and spending. Did you know that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they’re being treated?
If you’re a small business owner, here are some ways for you to enhance your customer experience:
1)      Be present. The business is your investment, your concept and your design. If you’re a restaurant, it’s your menu. If you’re a bookstore, you picked the books. Your business is your creation. So, be there as often as you can to represent it. Interact with customers, answer their questions, share your knowledge and experience and inspiration.
2)      Get technical. Think of marketing as an investment instead of a cost. It’s not money down the drain, it’s money dedicated to building your customer base. A lot of businesses are focusing their marketing on mobile these days:
·         Mobile apps - Mobile apps help provide a seamless customer experience, including browsing, communicating and paying for services through an app. This case study of fire alarm and safety company Critical Systems highlights how a mobile app helped this small business compete with big corporations.
·         Text marketing - SMS marketing campaigns have experienced some incredible success both for large corporations and small businesses. Texts have a nearly 100% open rate, making them the best way to reach your clients with information about sales, promotions and appointment reminders. The case study for ProspectExpert, an automotive repair company, shows how using SMS to send appointment reminders has increased their appointments by 60-80%.
3)      Get social (media). If you haven’t created a Facebook page, a Twitter account or an Instagram account for your business, it’s time to do it. Social media is where you can post photos and videos of your merchandise or events, promote sales and create events. Better yet, it’s an interactive platform for your customers, allowing them to post, comment and share, spreading the word about your business with organic reach.
4)      Get feedback. Did you know that on average, for every customer who complains, 26 other customers have remained silent? It’s really important that you give customers a chance to voice their feedback. Whether it’s a questionnaire you send via SMS or email or even on paper by the cash register, customers need to have a platform to tell you what they’re thinking. Most won’t take the time to come forward and tell you how you’re doing. You have to ask.
5)      Take care of problems quickly. There’s nothing worse for a customer than voicing a complaint and feeling like the retailer doesn’t care. Make sure your customers feel like they’re your priority by taking care of problems as quickly as possible. If someone had a bad meal at your restaurant, comp them for it that night. If someone was overcharged for an item at your store, give them back the difference immediately.
Don’t wait and don’t give them store credit. Going the extra mile to maintain a customer is worth the investment. If you doubt that, consider that it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.
For small business owners customer service should be your number one priority. Use these tips to improve your customers’ experience.
Alexa Lemzy is a customer support person and blog editor at She writes mainly about small business, customer service best practices and mobile technology. You can contact her on Twitter @Alexa_Lemzy.

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