The recent past has seen businesses grapple with declining customer service. A labor shortage has resulted in shortened hours of operation, extended wait times, and the frustrating experience of a customer service representative unable to answer your questions. Companies have put the service on hold.
But it really is an opportunity for your business to stand out.
It’s not about being thin and mean – it’s about being thin and nice
Service is the art of offering your customers attention and kindness. You don’t need a full staff to provide exceptional, personalized customer service. Think about quality rather than quantity. As a moving company, we needed to reduce the number of moves we made to deliver the high quality service that has always been part of our DNA and maintain our five star reputation.
It might seem scary to scale back your business when demand is still high. But what’s really scary is the damage done to your brand by overstretching your human resources and providing subpar service to your customers. Your hard-earned stellar reputation will suffer. Repairing a bad reputation takes years.
Consumer demand is on the rise, but don’t let that temptation ruin your business. Be smart and strategic, and ask yourself what your current staff can handle. How can we adapt and still provide the care that our customers, guests and customers have come to expect?
Providing excellent customer service doesn’t have to cost you more. In fact, in the long run, great customer service will save you money. It’s so much easier (and cheaper) to retain a customer than to attract a new one. Plus, why not turn your customers into enthusiastic fans who help you spread the word?
Plus, happy customers help you retain your workforce. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Treat your team members well so they will treat your customers well, and your happy customers will treat your team members well. This is the best way to make your team members want to stay with you.
With heart and creativity, you can make your brand thrive and pave the way for future growth. Here are seven ways to maintain excellent customer service even with a reduced workforce:
be old fashioned
Above all, love your customers. Get to know your customers and develop relationships with them. If they are regular customers, be sure to show that you remember them and are happy to see them again. Call them by name and be sure to repeat what they liked last time.
If your customers loved their experience, they’ll want to show their love back. They will come back again and again and recommend their friends and family to you. Plus, they’ll leave rave reviews online.
Educate and welcome
Make sure even your small staff is fully informed about the service you provide. Your team needs to know the intricacies of your service so they can be nimble and adapt to a client’s needs.
Your entire Lean team needs to be able to solve problems on the spot or know who to contact quickly to resolve an issue. Whether your employees work from your office or remotely, adapt their schedules to allow them to have work-life flexibility.
Set up your team so they can handle family responsibilities and have time to fully focus on their calls and customer service tasks. A distracted customer representative leads to errors and inefficiencies.
Choose a demographic or market segment. Focus your communication on this sector. Place your marketing dollars on the channel that reaches the target audience. Ditch the other channels. Are they Instagrammers? So why are you on Facebook? Perhaps, reduce the products or services you provide.
For example, for a restaurant, this might mean reducing your menu to ensure that every dish on your limited menu is perfectly executed. It’s about delivering impeccable service to ensure your customers come back and tell their friends and family.
Remind your staff that their customers are in the same boat as them. The client could also work from home and juggle hats. In some ways, 2022 is easier than the start of the pandemic as we all acclimate to the “new normal”.
But now, we’re not all at the same lockdown stages together, and we’re not all following a unified set of guidelines. Our situations are fluid and everyone’s schedules are different. School hours fluctuate and people work in hybrid ways.
We are also all tired. We are tired of hearing about shortages and Covid-19 as an excuse for why the service is so poor. Now more than ever, kindness is key. Teach your employees by example to show compassion for others and put kindness first.
You may have to reinvent the wheel a bit. With a small team, think of innovative ways for your customers and guests to opt out of the services they expected.
For example, I recently came across a hotel that pledged to donate a meal to the local food bank for each day you opted out of cleaning services.
Now it’s a win-win-win – the guest feels good, helps the community food bank, and takes the strain off the limited cleaning staff.
Always approach your customer service with the “go above and beyond” mentality. Give special treatment and give something free, customers love freebies. Send them a gift basket as a thank you for their business.
And, if you make a mistake, give the customer something before they even complain. For example, if a dessert took too long to serve, let them know it’s free before the customer comments on the delayed service.
People are hungry for trustworthy businesses. In this age where people question their motives, if the public sees your business involved in the community, your reliability and reputation will increase.
Charitable support should not be limited to giving a lot of money. There are many ways to support charities and spread compassion in the community. We provide in-kind support to countless charities. We are always looking for ways our moving services can help.
By being really involved in the community, you meet like-minded people. These people spread the word and send you referrals. And it’s true: the more you give, the more you receive in return. After all, kindness is truly contagious.
The overall strategy is to focus on people and show them you care. You don’t need a full complement to do this. People want to come back to a product or service that makes them feel cared for and loved. Why not have customers who want more from you, not less? A quick dollar is never a lasting fortune. Again, when you focus on people, sales will follow.