It’s no surprise that local business owners have a lot of ground to cover, from developing extraordinary customer experiences to creative marketing ideas, and most importantly, finding the right employees. It seems like our to-do list never ends. Once we master one thing, there’s another challenge waiting for you around the corner.
In business, we are faced with two things that never leave us: problems and looking for solutions to problems. As a business owner, I know that owning your own business can be both rewarding and challenging — but it’s worth the effort!
With larger crowds of customers flooding our local Florida businesses, it can become difficult for our employees to handle every customer’s needs or wants at the level every customer deserves. How do we maintain a great customer experience during peak times?
“You’re only as good as your team!” We all know this to be true in many professions, especially local business owners who need a great team and happy customers to be successful. Managing a small business can be difficult because we don’t have the time or resources that larger companies do. Still, when customers count on you every time for an “A+” experience, they deserve nothing less than our best! But what does that mean? It is more than just being cordial; it’s about creating an extraordinary experience for our customers that will keep them coming back again and again.
We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started with a few tips to ensure your team is ready to face any obstacle with the skills and tools required to create unforgettable experiences for your customers. So, what can you do to make sure customer service stays at a high level, even when there are more customers than your staff can handle? Are you ready to go beyond your typical approach and do something different?
- Employees are a company’s greatest asset. Your team must believe in you before they can buy into your vision and understand how you want your customers treated. Take care of your team because these are the folks on the front lines that can make or break your business’s reputation when it comes to customer service.
- Create a culture of ownership where your team takes pride in coming up with creative ways to exceed customer expectations. Share those ideas with everyone on your team, from the top down. Keep an eye out for new innovations that are rewarding customers more than they ever thought possible.
- Encourage your employees to provide feedback on how your business can better serve customers and what changes could be made. Whether it is implementing small or large-scale change, employee feedback is truly invaluable in making the right decisions for your business’s future success.
- Use incentive programs and goal tracking to give your employees that extra push they need. What are some ways you can motivate? How are you rewarding the right behaviors? Establish performance metrics – KPI’s (key performance indicators). You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
- Offer training programs that will teach your team to provide extraordinary customer experiences. Role-playing is an effective way to teach how best to manage customer requests under pressure. So, offer training programs that will give customers the experience of a lifetime when they walk into your business, so you never have another unsatisfied customer walk out because one of your employees didn’t know how to serve the customer.
- Don’t allow your employees to get complacent with any aspect of their job. Make sure they are always looking to improve from one day to the next – strive to be better than you were yesterday.
- Make your customers feel like they are top priority, and always give them 100% of your attention when talking to them. For the customer, nothing is more uncomfortable than having you pulled away from their conversation by a phone call or text.
- Paraphrase what the customer says to help ensure everyone’s on board before proceeding with a customer request. Practice good listening skills by repeating back to the person you’re speaking with so that they know everything has been understood correctly.
- Smile – this is the most important part of your service. Make eye contact, be cheerful and friendly to customers whenever they enter your business! Warmly introduce yourself.
- Identifying the best people to join your team can be challenging, but it is well worth spending time on. To develop your team, you will need to find individuals that are willing and able to do their job with excellence. First, you need to identify what characteristics you want them to have so you know what kind of employee you want them to be. These characteristics let employees know how to act under pressure and serve customers better by becoming stronger, more equipped, and confident individuals. These qualities should instruct your new hires on the behavior standards to follow while at work and inspire all members of your staff – including yourself.
- Communicate clear expectations to your team with a strong sense of leadership. You need to provide both directives and goals so that everyone knows what they are striving for and can work together toward the vision you have set forth as the leader—for example, post clear instructions and visuals for standard work practices that project expected outcomes.
There’s something inherently different about being made to feel special. Think back to any customer service interaction: whether pleasant or otherwise, all customers should leave remembering their experience regardless of the outcome at hand. Excellent service is expected and paramount in this world where a customer’s loyalty can be won and lost in seconds
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou