Of all the lessons we can learn as an entrepreneur, customer retention is the biggest growth driver. And for all of the processes we can put in place to ensure that the marketing strategies are comprehensive, and our employees are working smart, as well as hard, to improve the business’ relationship with the consumer, it’s still down to you to ensure that the business is going in the right direction. You, the entrepreneur, have the biggest influence over your business. On the turn of a dime, you can change the company into the polar opposite entity of what it is right now. But the one constant throughout this, in terms of business concerns, is if it can keep customer satisfaction levels high. What can the entrepreneur do, amid all of this, to ensure they are doing everything they can to improve customer service?
Are You Leading by Example?
Whether you are the face of the business or not, in terms of your marketing tactics, you still need to be that leading light, the talisman of the business. It’s a well-worn cliché, but leading by example is one of the simplest ways that CEOs can encourage their employees to follow suit. Gone are the days of “do as I say, not as I do”. By working with your employees to develop a comprehensive approach to customer service, you are not only listening to your employees and taking their feedback on board, but it’s at this point where you need to utilize your experience of working with the customer to get a satisfactory conclusion. It is something that can rankle in the ranks, if you are happy to give out orders but you are never seen on the shop floor, your employees will have little faith in your abilities, and so, when it comes to customer retention, you need to maintain a consistent presence, especially in an environment where stress and anxiety are high because call handlers are experiencing constant conflict with customers. And if you think it’s going to impact your ability to keep on top of your own work, this is where you need to communicate a consistent working practice with all of your employees. Productivity tools aren’t just technology related; they can consist of certain attitudes. On www.Forbes.com there are productivity tools such as maintaining clarity and saying “no” once in a while, and these are just as important as the various computer software programs and back office functions that can result in a more efficient business.
Do You Have A Good Handle on Technology?
The right piece of technology is more than worth its weight in gold. When you compare the modern business approach to customer service to a few years ago, there are so many different technologies available that can help you to infinitely improve the relationship with your customers at the click of a button. From CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems to generalized customer support platforms, they provide that entryway to establish efficient communication but install a wealth of customer information that will help your employees to develop that relationship further. It’s down to you, as the entrepreneur, to invest in the right technology. From a start-up perspective, when you are trying to find your feet, the right piece of technology could help you get onto the next plateau. By investing in support software, you are able to provide simple solutions for customers, and it helps your employees to gather information and use certain details with ease. Going back 10 years, spreadsheets and emails were the pinnacle, but now, there are so many ways to gain insight. Not only this, but the way you can use unique customer support platforms in your specific industry can help to improve every aspect, and so it’s worth investing in the right software and platforms that are specific to the area you work in. Even in the restaurant industry, numerous services like www.RestaurantAccountingServices.com can provide ways and means for you to keep track of your finances. The fact is now, when it comes to outsourcing, and investing in the right tools, we have an abundance of programs, platforms, and infinite tools to see us on our way. As the entrepreneur, it’s vital for you to have the insight and the foresight, to recognize which tools are going to serve you well. The big mistake most entrepreneurs make at the very beginning of their businesses is that they choose the most expensive and flashy tools to do the job. This is a big mistake, because you may very well be investing too much money in something that can be done at a fraction of the cost. And even if you don’t have a handle on technology, by making the most of people who do, it’s flexing your entrepreneurial muscle.
Are You Making the Most of Your Relationships?
Some people have no idea about technology or certain niche approaches, but it’s your duty, as the entrepreneur, not just to see the bigger picture, but to leverage relationships to further improve the business. Outsourcing is one of the best ways to do this, but with regards to customer service, you need to reach out to them. While there are non-personal ways to reach out to the customer, such as surveys or questionnaires. If you don’t know your customers, how you going to be able to entice them with the latest products? As an entrepreneur, it’s you that has the final say on how a product should look or feel, but before you develop the prototype you need to have an inherent knowledge of pretty much everything, from their names to their tastes and interests. As soon as you have this detailed knowledge, it’s going to be easier to attract your target audience. And when you’ve attracted them, you need to encourage them to talk to you. This can be done with analytics and the like, but you need to consider the overall customer experience and find appropriate methods to encourage honest and open feedback. The fact of the matter is, if you have a good relationship with the customer, you will receive feedback that is not always complementary. This means you’re doing something right because if they are telling you why they don’t like part of your business, and they are explaining it in great detail, this is what you can use. There are so many surveys out there that are so generalized, that it doesn’t give the opportunity to explain in great detail why they don’t like something. So, when you are encouraging an open and honest dialogue with a customer, this is what will help improve things on both sides.
How Much of Your Business Image Is You?
A lot of entrepreneurs highlight themselves to be the face of the business, and if you are the business image, then you had better make sure that you are affable, likable, and when it comes to customer service, able to build a bridge to the customer through your marketing methods. If you are your business image because you believe in open and honest customer service, it’s important to work on this, not just in how you present yourself on camera or through your promotional materials, but the personality you exude in every aspect of your business dealings, from the promotion to the house processes, or need to be, at the very least, human. Now, this may be stating the obvious, but much like when people vote for a politician, they may not always go for the policies, but the personality. This is something you really need to consider. While running a business may not be a hugely politicized venture, if someone doesn’t like you, they will go to someone they do like. You need to be careful, especially when you are working towards a positive relationship with the customer because if you are the face of your business, you need to scrutinize every aspect of your personality, which means a lot of inward looking. This is something many people don’t like to do, but when you are doing your most to promote the business and put forward a certain personality, sometimes, we believe ourselves to be the best visual representation of our business. But sometimes, we can stray away from this path, so it’s vital to check in with yourself. Are you still practicing what you preach? Does your business ethos align with your own? It’s all these little things that we need to consider.
Customer service is fast becoming the key signifier of what makes a business successful. And while there are numerous analytical tools out there, if you are doing your utmost as the face and figurehead of the business to drive customer retention, inside and out, then it’s time to take a good on a long hard look at your own business practices. Customer service has to improve, but it’s not all about procedures and practices from the employees’ point of view. It all has to start with you, and your own attitudes, ethos, but above all else, personality.