Customer Service is one of those things that might sound easy on paper, but can sometimes be a lot more difficult to remember or implement effectively when you're interacting with your customer in person (or over the phone). Following are five recommendations that Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids (an award winning kids hair salon franchise system) has learned over the many years that we've served thousands of customers with a smile and the help they not only deserve - but have come to expect!
1. It's important to have the right information at hand! When interacting with a customer, the right information can make a big difference in the kind of interaction you might have with them. Wrong or unclear information might cause someone to leave with a feeling of annoyance, exasperation or that they just didn't get the solution they were wanting - which could cause them to look elsewhere. So make sure that your business has a great system in place that keeps track of relevant customer data. For example, let's say a customer contacts your business wanting to know about a service they received from a couple of weeks ago. If you're unable to quickly look up this information, or the employee who assisted them, the lack of details could lead to potential confusion over what they're asking for.
2. Treat your customers like people! We've often seen very sterile communications with customers, which is laden with in-house terminology, number or letter sequences (for products) and sentences that seem like they're spoken by a robot. Or, I'm sure we've all had that employee who acts about as bored as can be when you call them up to ask a question, or take absolutely forever to give you the answer you're looking for. This all leads to a feeling that the customer is either just another number in some machine, or isn't really that important. So make sure that you're relating to your customers in ways that help them to feel valued and intelligent, and use language that is friendly and not too technical. One trick that might help is to actually smile when speaking to someone, whether in a face-to-face discussion or on the phone. It's a lot harder to convey an attitude of boredom or annoyance when you're smiling.
3. Acknowledge customer concerns. This can be a tough one, as no-one likes to feel like they're in the hot seat. However, make sure that when you're assisting an upset customer that you listen carefully to their concern, and promise to make it right (as much as is feasibly possible). It's also important to utilize positive language over negative language when interacting with your customers. For example, negative language might be the use of "I can't or won't do that right now", or "This is not our fault". Positive language would be, "Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. I would be happy to help fix this issue for you!"
4. Help customers with the ability to help themselves. Sometimes it can be frustrating for customers if they're looking for an answer that they know should be easily available online, but instead have to spend the time to contact someone at your business. It's a good idea to have a website where customers can find this information, and publicize it on social media or in your advertising so that they know this is where many of their questions could be answered. For example, a business website should include store hours, locations, services provided (with helpful descriptions) and perhaps even a frequently asked questions. Another great thing about a website is that it can communicate through photographs or videos, which can be very helpful for your customer in understanding more about what your business offers!
5. Be thankful to you customers. As noted earlier, customers love to feel appreciated and valued. One way to do this is write thank you notes after a customer makes a purchase, or have customer appreciation days with fun give aways and snacks. You might also consider utilizing the blog on your website or social media to highlight positive customer feedback, good customer questions or photographs of customers in your store (with their permission of course). A lot of people complain about faceless mega-corporations that seem to regard them as just a number. So be sure to bring a personal touch to help your business stand out!
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Are you interested in learning how YOU can join the Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids family and run your own successful small business? We are one of the fastest growing kids hair salons in the industry today! If you would like to learn more about this franchise opportunity or small business marketing, great marketing strategies, resources for small businesses, how to grow your small business or how to become a successful owner of your own kids hair salon franchise business, please click below or call 1-888-98 GONE MAD