Small Business Tips

Customer Service Post Archive
Featuring articles related to the topic of customer service including how to deal with people, how to provide top notch service, selecting a level of customer service to provide, hiring the right people to do the job and more.
Good Listening Skills Mean Success

As the holidays come to a close, I’ve been spending my weekends around the house recooping from all the travel and excitement (which can be very wearing on a pregnant woman, eight months along). Yesterday I spent the majority of the evening doing a little sewing and watching television.

What I ended up watching was a marathon on TLC of a show called Say Yes to the Dress about Kleinfeld Bridal in New York. Basically, cameras follow sales clerks around as they try and sell that perfect dress to soon-to-be brides. A chic-show to be sure, but there was something in particular that caught my attention.

There is one “bridal consultant,” Claudia, who just can’t seem to meet her sales quota. At the time the shows in the marathon aired, she had been working for Kleinfelds over a span of 3-8 months. She just wasn’t getting it, and, despite many, many attempts by the owner and manager to work with her and help her be successful, Claudia continually asserted that there was nothing wrong with her or her sales style and she just kept happening to get clients who weren’t going to buy.

I found myself continually frustrated with Claudia because she just refused to see how she was harming the business. First and foremost, the owner and managers pointed out to her that she wasn’t taking the time to listen to the needs and desires of the client. Claudia insisted that she was a great listener and they just didn’t see the discussions she had with the brides. The viewer, however, knew better, and the owner and managers were right. Claudia continued to assert her opinions about certain dresses and why they would work for the bride, even when the bride disagreed.

I wanted to take the opportunity to make a couple of points from my critique of Claudia’s sales process that any business owner/employee should take into consideration:

Continue Reading: “Good Listening Skills Mean Success”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, October 13th, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Customer Service, Operations |

The Importance of Website Accessibility

>Did you know that the option to make your website accessible to the blind, dyslexic or deaf was even a possibility? I hadn’t even thought of it. But it appears that, eventually, we will all be required to accommodate the handicapped. I have no problem with this, as I find it totally necessary, but the question is, how?

Currently there is a software available coined a “screen reader,” which, is purchased by the PC user and put on their computer and, when the code on the website is correct, the program reads the text out loud to the user, using braille-enabled keyboard commands rather than a mouse.

That is one option that will probably be phased out, however, due to the current changes and technological upgrades of latest websites. Those that provide videos and visual/auditory content should be providing closed-captioning for hard-of-hearing users, but there isn’t much out there that can keep up with the current video technology. And what about those who have a hard time manipulating a keyboard or mouse? Currently, the options are rather limited.

Continue Reading: “The Importance of Website Accessibility”


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By Michelle Cramer
Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Customer Service, Technology |

Easy Return Policy Means Return Customers

Black Friday and Cyber Monday were a big hit this year. As usual, sales were up, despite the fact that many businesses feared that higher gas prices and the like would keep shoppers from spending as much money this year.

The unfortunate aspect of the Christmas season, for retailers anyway, are the returns. And returns are inevitable. You can’t please everyone, and gift giving is no exception. But, as an online retailer, if you want customers to keep coming back to you, then you need to provide an easy and clear-cut return policy.

According to a survey conducted by return processor Newgistics, Inc., at least nine out of 10 consumers cited a convenient return policy as important when shopping with a new or unknown online retailer. And 69% of those surveyed said that they wouldn’t use that online retailer again if the return policy is a pain or unclear.

So, what can you do to provide your customers with an hassle-free return process? Here are some tips to get you started:

Continue Reading: “Easy Return Policy Means Return Customers”


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By Michelle Cramer
Monday, October 9th, 2017 @ 12:02 AM CDT

Customer Service, Operations |

Remembering Your Customers

Working on that Christmas Card list? Well, don’t stop at just friends and family. Be sure that you get some cards to send on behalf of your business to your customers. Yes, it may be a bit of added expense, but it’s well worth giving clients the reminder that you’re still available to provide them with quality products and services.

Before you do anything else, figure out how much you have available in your budget to send cards and gifts to clients. Just like with your personal Christmas shopping, it’s important to establish a budget and keep yourself on track.

Continue Reading: “Remembering Your Customers”


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By Michelle Cramer
Monday, September 25th, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Customer Service, Marketing |

Knowing Your Customers

There have been many occasions when I have discussed knowing who the target market for your product/service should be, what they’re looking for, etc. But the research and data shouldn’t stop at a marketing demographic. You need to get to know your customers individually as well.

A great way to do that is to develop a customer profile for each of your devote customers. You may be asking how you could get information on your customer without seeming nosy to them. Fortunately, most people are prone to talk to anyone that may listen, so it can really be easier than you might expect.

Continue Reading: “Knowing Your Customers”


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By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 @ 12:03 AM CDT

Customer Service, Marketing |

How Accessible are You?

Customer service is a key element in the success of your business. That’s not news to anyone. But a crucial element of customer service, that business owners often overlook, is being readily accessible to your clientele. That can be a challenge, but technology lends a hand in making it possible.

Continue Reading: “How Accessible are You?”


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By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, September 21st, 2017 @ 12:06 AM CDT

Customer Service, Marketing, Ownership |

Saving Time on the Telephone

Many of us find that there really aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything would like to done. Any shortcut can help to make the minutes of the day go by more smoothly. Something that can often take up a lot of your time in any business are telephone calls. But, they must be made and time must be spent.

Here are few tips for saving some time on those necessary calls, and maybe freeing up time for other things:

Map It Out
When important calls need to be made to clients or investors, make an outline of everything you need to discuss before making the call. Draw up the points you want to bring up, including possible questions from the other end of the phone and your responses. Also, when the call is connected, let the client know why your calling – give them a run down of what to expect from the call. If he/she knows that you have an agenda in mind, that might help to keep them from making small talk or changing the subject.

Continue Reading: “Saving Time on the Telephone”


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By Michelle Cramer
Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Customer Service, Operations |

A Bad Customer Service Experience

While out to dinner this weekend, my husband, some friends and I had a bad customer service experience. I thought I would share it with the blog community as a means to help learn what your staff should not do when a customer/client is dissatisfied.

We went to dinner at a small, locally owned Italian restaurant that we had heard many good things about, but none of us had yet been to. The service was off to a rocky start as the waitress took quite awhile to get to us. But we tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.

While waiting for our salads, our friends’ seven month old son needed his diaper changed. Dad took him to the men’s restroom to change him. Upon his rather lengthy return he said that it took him so long because there was no where in the men’s restroom to change a baby. No table and not enough counter space. Strike number one.

Continue Reading: “A Bad Customer Service Experience”


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By Michelle Cramer
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Customer Service |

Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service

Customer service is the one aspect of business that can separate the great ones from the not-so-great ones. Products, services and even prices will usually be in the same ball park. Customer service is where you can really make a difference.

This is especially true when small businesses try and rise above their big business competitors. Corporate business, even though they typically have a whole department dedicated to customer service, have a tendency to make the client feel ignored and unimportant because the company “deals with so many people, something is always bound to go wrong.”

Continue Reading: “Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 7th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Customer Service |

How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations

In last week’s post Differentiate Your Business With Quality Customer Service, one of the tips listed touched on department divisions, which I would like to take the opportunity to elaborate on a bit.

When I say department divisions, I am specifically referring to the common element of many businesses, to have a department (or individual) assigned to each task related to the business, such as marketing/sales, accounting, legal, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to indicate that having departments in your company is a bad thing. In fact, in and of itself, it is not. What can lead to poor customer service is your employees’ attitudes about their specific department.

Continue Reading: “How Department Divisions Can Hurt Customer Relations”


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By Michelle Cramer
Friday, July 7th, 2017 @ 12:00 AM CDT

Customer Service, Operations |

What Ever Happened to Customer Service?

Customer service is hard to come by these days. So much so that advertising agencies are coming up with ad campaigns that emphasize the effective customer service a business provides. Instead of it being an expected part of everyday business dealings, quality customer service has become a commodity. I know I’m not the only one who finds that appalling.

Let’s look at recent news for an example, shall we. How about that American Airlines flight the Friday before New Year’s, traveling from San Francisco to Dallas (usually a 3.5 hour flight). The flight was diverted to Austin, Texas because of bad tornado weather in Dallas.

Continue Reading: “What Ever Happened to Customer Service?”


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By Michelle Cramer
Thursday, May 4th, 2017 @ 12:04 AM CDT

Customer Service |

Dealing With Angry Customers

If you are a seasoned small business owner, you’ve probably encountered the pissed-off customer who either treatens to shut your business down, or who throws a temper tantrum until they get their way.

For new business owners or people thinking of going into business, you should be prepared to deal with this no matter how much confidence you have in your products or services.

5 Simple Tips For Dealing With Nasty Customers

1. Don’t take it personal.
2. Don’t overdo the “customer is always right” concept.
3. Realize it isn’t always your problem.
4. Don’t fall for fear invoking bluffs.
5. Decide whether or not a customer relationship is worth salvaging.

Following these steps will help you keep your sanity when bearish customers come calling.

Recommended Reading:

• Leadership-Tools.com – Dealing With Angry Customers
• Work911.com – The #1 Mistake Made Dealing With Angry Customers
• Gaebler.com – Customer Support: Handling Angry Customers


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By Chris Brunner
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 @ 12:01 AM CDT

Customer Service |