As a small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to improve your business and, as a result, make more money. You spend lots of time perfecting your products, paying attention to every detail and flaw. But do you also make sure that the customer experience is just as polished? Because let’s be honest, if your customers have a bad experience with your business—no matter how great the product is—they’re not going to return.
Not only that, but bad word of mouth from unsavory customer service experiences can do more to harm your reputation than almost anything else. People get cranky when they’re not treated well, and for good reason (well, most of the time).
So how do you start improving customer experience so that you don’t get this bad word of mouth? Here are 5 creative ways to make sure your business is up to snuff.
Do some digging
Search engines and social media make it easy to find out what people are saying about your business. You should be regularly checking up on mentions of your name by searching for it on Twitter, Google, and whatever other platforms you think your customers are on. You should also have an account on all major review websites, including Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Foursquare. Read all the reviews that you receive—they will give you valuable information on how your customers really feel about your business. Make changes accordingly!
Treat your employees well
Your employees are in direct contact with your customers all day. If they’re disgruntled, then you’d better believe that sort of attitude will rub off on your customers. And we don’t want that, do we? Be sure to treat your employees well—pay them fairly, have a decent vacation policy, hire good managers, and consider putting on the occasional morale-boosting office party. This investment in your workers will pay big dividends in customer satisfaction.
Have a strong online presence
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find out more about a company and getting to a dead end. Your online presence is key to providing customers with the information they need to be happy. You should have an easy-to-find website that provides contact information, hours, and locations, at the very least. If you’re a restaurant, post your menu online. If you’re a gallery or event venue, have lots of pictures for potential clients to browse. Your customers will thank you.
Become a “Secret Shopper”…at your own business
Haven’t you always wanted to be one of those Secret Shoppers who gets paid to go undercover at stores and rate your experience there? What if you did that—but for yourself? This may get tricky if all the employees recognize you, but you could have a little fun putting on a disguise in order to make a purchase at your own store. You could also check the phone experience by calling in to your business and pretending to be a customer. Be creative! Send emails, order something on your website—do exactly what a customer would do, and then see if the experience is a positive one.
One of the easiest ways to improve customer experience is to ask. It may seem scary at first, but rest assured that this feedback will prove invaluable to growing your company. Send out customer surveys, either online or in-store. Use social media to ask fans what they like about your business and what you can do better. You could even survey your employees to see if they have any suggestions based on their interactions with customers.
You may be surprised at the difference you can make by following a few of these steps. And once you improve customer experience, sit back and watch as good word-of-mouth brings in more customers, more exposure, and more sales dollars. Can’t say no to that, can ya?
How do you make sure your customers are happy? Let us know in the comments below!