By Paula Fleming, BBBMarlborough, MA - September 10, 2012 -
A warm smile and a kind gesture can brighten even the gloomiest of days. When working with customers, it's important to recognize the integral part of quality service. September is National Courtesy Month and Better Business Bureau (BBB) is encouraging business owners to recognize the importance of proper business etiquette for when it comes to dealing with customers.
The trust that's established between a customer and a business is not only the foundation for a successful business transaction, but makes for an overall healthy business relationship between the business and the customer. The customer needs to feel that they have been heard and that they have received the time and patience from the business.
“First impressions matter,” commented Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local Better Business Bureau. “As a business owner, the first step to ensuring quality customer service is to provide that same quality service to your own employees. Do you greet your employees with a positive hello? Do you listen to them when they seek feedback? The kindness that you show to your employees will become threefold as it quickly trickles down to the level of the customer.”
Some BBB tips for business owners and managers: Lead by example.
Employees take their cue from management. Make sure that all senior staff are aware of how they treat their staff. Their staff can become the face of the business and it will be important that the positive interactions they receive from their management reflect in their daily interactions with customers. Always greet your customer with a warm welcome.
When a customer comes to your business, make sure to address them by name and with a friendly welcome. Customers pick up on your attitude and will quickly judge your business accordingly. A warm welcome invites the customer to stay a while and encourages them to do business with you. Go the extra mile.
Thank you notes, birthday cards, and personalized coupons are a great way to show your appreciation to your customers. If a customer makes a request for something special, do everything you can to say yes. Give the customer the benefit of the doubt.
Whether it’s online or in person, customers can and will complain at some point during your business’ lifetime. Make sure you know how to handle even the most disgruntled complaint. Give your employees guidelines on what to say and how to act. Respond consistently and timely if the complaint is online. Outsiders will see and appreciate your attempt to resolve, even if the disgruntled customer does not. Seek out feedback.
Ask your customers and fellow employees, “How are we doing?” Make an honest effort to resolve and execute any suggestions. Keeping customers and employees happy is the key to success for any business. Feedback allows for a great pat on the back and time to reflect on what needs to be changed.
For more business tips you can trust, visit bbb.org