Customer service is more important today than it’s ever been for two reasons: increasing competition means that the consumer has more choice and, therefore, more power; social media means that unhappy customers can quickly spread news of their discontent. Conversely, having a great customer service offering can create a good news story for your small business, and help it gain a reputation as a brand that can be trusted. With that in mind, here are four helpful tips for small businesses who are looking to improve or expand their customer service offering.

1. Don’t Keep Customers Waiting

We live in an increasingly fast-paced world, and consumers simply don’t have the time or inclination to wait for a response if they’ve raised a concern. The longer you leave a customer waiting for a response, the unhappier they’re likely to become, escalating something that could perhaps have been resolved quickly and amicably. That’s why it’s essential that customers are answered as quickly as possible, whether they telephone, email or contact you via an online helpdesk. Customers feel reassured when they know that they’ve been heard, so the initial response is all important.

2. Make The Most Of Automation Opportunities

More and more customers today want to contact companies directly via their website, whether they want to raise a concern, ask a question or simply give feedback. The ideal way to enable this is to have in place a powerful yet easy to use web-based helpdesk application. With this in place, the small business owner can be assured that their customers can get real-time and immediate support 24-hours a day, seven days a week. An automated customer service application also allows small business owners to have agents working in different time zones across the world, which is especially good news for those with a global customer base.

3. Keep Track Of Your Complaints

It’s great when a complaint can be resolved immediately, but in business as in life that can’t always be the case. Customers understand that some issues will need looking into and that it may take a little time to resolve (as long as they’ve had a quick initial response, as above) but they certainly won’t understand if their complaint becomes lost in the system. That can easily happen under disorganized manual systems, but an automated customer support helpdesk prevents it from happening by making it incredibly easy to keep track of all contacts and alerting you to any customer contacts that haven’t yet been resolved or processed correctly.

4. Learn The Important Lessons

Unfortunately, some businesses see customer complaints as an inconvenience, but a smart small business owner understands that they are a great opportunity to learn and improve. Every customer contact gives you a valuable insight into how your product or service is performing in the real world, and remember that for every complaint made, there will be others who have experienced the same problem but haven’t contacted you; they simply stop using your product, and may also tell others of their dissatisfaction. Customer service automation can help you keep track of the nature of complaints, allowing you to quickly see areas of concern. You can then improve your product or service, which can give you a competitive edge over business rivals.

Sales are at the heart of every business, and repeat customers can be vital for continued and sustainable growth. A happy customer is much more likely to come back to your business, and even customers who’ve initially experienced difficulties can be made happy by a timely and positive resolution. That’s why customer service is so important, and why customer service automation can help your small business succeed.

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