The Importance of Great Service for Small Businesses

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No matter what your business does, excellent customer service is essential. If a plumber shows up to fix a leaky pipe, is rude the whole time, and leaves a big mess, are you going to call the same company next time or deal with their unprofessionalism again? Even if they’re slightly cheaper than a more service-oriented plumbing group, you’re probably going to spring for better service at a somewhat higher price. The same goes for restaurants, salons, dry cleaners, grocery stores, and every other kind of business out there.

Even across different industries and sectors, basic best service practices apply to every particular business. Yes, suppose you don’t have any competitors, and you offer an essential good or service. In that case, people will be forced to patronize your business regardless of actual service quality, but as soon as a competitor pops up, customers are likely to at least attempt a switch. 

If you’ve got the best product around, you’ll probably still attract many customers. Still, a certain percentage will likely patronize another business with a slightly inferior product but much better service. Famous restaurateur Danny Meyer once said, in so many words, that people go to a restaurant for the food, but what keeps them coming back is hospitality — what we’ll call service in this article.

Why Great Customer Service is a Necessity

1. Perhaps the number one reason why great customer service is so important is that it’s easier to maintain customers than acquire new ones; retention versus acquisition. 

There are many ways to attract new customers to any business, and many come at a financial cost. Billboard advertising is very effective, but it’s pricey. Grocery store advertising is an excellent way to reach people where they are, but it also costs money and is more or less effective depending on what kind of business you own; it’s great for a dry cleaner but not so much for a clothing boutique.

Look back at the paraphrased Danny Meyer quote above, and remember that it’s true for all business categories. People want to spend their money in a place where they’re treated well, and they will return to do so again and again if that is the case.           

2.You and your employees are ambassadors for your brandPeople tend to think of big-name companies when they think of “brands,” but small businesses have and are brands, too. 

Your business’ brand is, well, everything about it: logo, location, pricing, mission, values, and customer service. “Brand” really means how your business is presented and how customers perceive it. No matter what your small business sells, all customer-facing interactions must be warm and friendly, so your brand stays strong, and people keep coming back.

3.Happy and satisfied customers tell other people to patronize your businessWhen people enjoy the customer service at your business, they tell other people about their positive experience, and those other people then visit your business. This is the best and most effective form of free advertising. Especially in today’s age of online reviews, peer referral is invaluable.

Satisfied, well-served customers will tell their friends and family about your business, which is a surefire way to attract new business. They’ll also write positive online reviews — crucially, they also won’t write negative reviews. One bad review can make a huge impact, even if you already have five good reviews.

4.People will pay more for better customer service. No matter what your product is, your business also sells customer service. It’s both part of and separate from your primary product offering, whether that’s a good or service. 

Just as you wouldn’t want to pay a premium for a subpar product, you wouldn’t want to pay a premium for poor customer service if another vendor offers excellent customer service.

Consider that when you shop for electronic goods online, there is often an option to add a one-year warranty at an additional cost. If the product is good, most people will never use the warranty, but many will buy it anyway. Just by offering a better customer service experience, that vendor increases their profits.

5.Happy customers mean happier employees. Working in a customer service role can be extremely hard and exhausting work. You have to maintain a positive demeanor, patience, and helpfulness all day, every day. 

Quite simply, if every aspect of your business’s customer service is done well, your employee’s lives will be easier, they’ll be happier, and they’ll work for your business for a more extended period of time. 

It’s a feedback loop: if your customers aren’t satisfied and are frustrated when dealing with your business, you’ll wear out your employees quicker.

It’s never alright to operate your business with less-than-great customer service. In the end, it will only hurt you. The health of your business is dependent on many things, including customer satisfaction. This is something you can control — for your own sake, stay on top of customer service.

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