What prompted this post is the thought that customer service lies solely in the hands of the business. As a business owner, the thought occurred to me to discuss how YOU can be a better customer to receive that stellar service that you so deserve. I enjoy rewarding customers, ESPECIALLY those who make my job easier. As a customer of many businesses, and a business owner, I've found ways to get great customer service or resolutions to problems.
1. Be Decisive.
The customers who know what they want and how they want it and are able to express that make it SO simple to accommodate their needs. It makes for a timely transaction and satisfaction for both parties. Much time is spent helping indecisive customers determine what they want/need and often it doesn't end up in a sale. Now, I enjoy the conversations I have with people and potential customers, but just be cognizant that time can be limited with business owners. If they have dedicated time for you, make the most of it! As the old saying goes, TIME IS MONEY. Respect the businesses time and try to express your needs and wants as efficiently as possible. Also, just because someone runs a home based business or operates on a flexible schedule does not mean they will be able to respond to your inquiry at 1am...Be mindful.
2. Do As You Say
If a business has lessened their general rules to accommodate your request, make sure to fulfill your end of the bargain. For example, if you ask for a clothing item to be held for you (and you know this is not general practice) purchase it on the terms you agreed, by the time you agreed. In my line of work, I sometimes send invoices as a courtesy to customers, and end up having to cancel them because I get no response and no payment from the customer. This is a waste of time for me, and insulting.
3. Discuss Resolutions in a Timely and Respectful Manner
Businesses are not fault and error free. Business owners are Human, and therefore mistakes WILL be made. And when it is, make sure to bring it to the business' attention so it can be rectified. Remember, that a company may not know if something was handled erroneously until it is brought to their attention. When you do bring it to their attention, make sure you are not hostile, belligerent, and making demands or threats. I suggest that you notify them of the problem, give them the opportunity to offer to compensate you in some fashion. And if you aren't satisfied with the offer, ask for what you feel is appropriate. Think about this before you approach the business so you will have some level of expectation.
4. Tell a Friend!
When you have a good experience with a business, pass along the info! I just read a comment on instagram where a customer purchased an item from me, someone complimented her and asked where it was from, and her reply was "Atlanta". The thing is, I don't sell multiples of an item, so I'm not sure if she didn't "plug" me because she didn't want to reveal her source for fear that her friend may buy something she eyes, OR that she didn't want people to know she supported me. Either way, lots of small businesses use word of mouth as their primary form of advertisement. Nothing can compare to a customers stellar testimonial. So think about sharing the next time you have a good experience, especially with a small business.
Feel free to comment with more tips on how to become a better customer!
Sincerely Yours, Fly