5 Common Customer Service Issues Small Businesses Face

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One of the core commitments your small business needs to promote is dedication to improving the experience of your customers. A better level of service and accountability on the part of a business creates a base for repeat customers and referrals (in particular a bad credit business loans a valuable base of revenues to itself through CRM). Obviously,  not every business has a high standard of customer service in place, but why is that? Generally, poor customer service can stem from a few common issues, which, once identified can be addressed. If you are looking to improve your levels of customer service, then correctly identifying the areas that need improvement in your business is the best place to start. With that in mind, here are some of the most common issues small businesses have that get in the way of their customer service.

A lack of training on the part of their staff. This is probably the most common issue that contributes to an unhelpful, or even downright unpleasant customer experience. When members of your team who interact with clients don’t know the answers to important questions about your service or products, are not appropriately polite when speaking with customers or use unprofessional language or don’t take the necessary steps towards solving client issues, your brand can become tainted with a bad reputation that can dramatically alter the way your client base perceives your business. The best way to avoid these issues is to ensure that there are solid protocols in place at your business for training new hires to interact with clients, as well as a level of oversight on the part of your managers that can identify and correct negative behaviors before they become a larger issue.

A problem with operations that backs up orders. Sometimes, having the most courteous and helpful customer service reps can’t make up for a long wait. No matter how good your client facing team is at their jobs, they need to be backed up by an operations team that cons consistently deliver products on time. If you are investigating negative customer service reviews and can’t find any issues with your reps, then you should turn your scrutiny on your internal processes to see if there is a bottleneck in one department. If this is the case, consider hiring new employees to speed up workflow.

Not enough personal attention. When a customer anticipates a certain degree of attention from a business and does not receive it, that can leave a very bad taste in  their mouth. Make sure you communicate the exact nature of the service you are going to be providing as well as the level of support they should anticipate in order avoid creating misleading expectations on the part of your clients. If possible, individualizing aspects of your service can give a great impression, but if it is not possible to do this with the infrastructure and staff you currently have on hand, do not promise it to your clients save for in extenuating circumstances when you feel it is in your best interest to go the extra mile yourself.

No dedicated customer service reps. One of the problems faced by small businesses is a lack of knowledge on what to do when you get a complaint. If there is no clearly defined customer service department, a complaint may never get the attention that it really deserves, as employees are busy doing their primary jobs and cannot commit to solving the issue. If hiring a customer service rep is beyond the capacity of your small business, then instead, you should create a clear protocol that your employees are all aware of for forwarding issues to designated parties. Based on who would be best able to answer questions in a timely manner, you should delegate customer service issues as best you can.

Loss of important information.  When you or one of your employees accidentally loses an important piece of customer information, the repercussions can vary but depending on the severity of the incident, anything up to legal action can result. The hallmark of an effective small business is the ability to manage customer information in a safe, effective and secure way. Spreadsheets, as well as physical and digital notepads can help capture information as it is relayed, which must then be entered into secure master documents. You will want to involve your managers in the creation of a data system that you can rely on, as well as your IT department, or at least an IT firms that can give you a security recommendation.

Photo Credit to Highways Agency on Flickr

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