If you are struggling to edge your company ahead of its rivals in a crowded marketplace, the key to breaking the deadlock could be in improving your customer service. However, if your business is still small, you could struggle to find the surplus funds you might assume would be necessary in this case.
That's where you would be mistaken, as making your customers happier doesn't strictly have to entail increased spending; you could alternatively take your pick from the following strategies.
Show your customers that you highly appreciate them
You must never take a single customer for granted. After all, each of those customers is a person who could have opted for one of your rivals but instead chose you. Therefore, you should reward their faith, perhaps by greeting them with a welcome pack thanking them for their custom.
A 'thank you' does not have to be reserved for a new customer, of course. Business 2 Community gives examples of how an e-commerce site could show its gratitude after a purchase is made.
Never neglect to reply to a customer query
Have customers sent you questions by email or instant message? Endeavour to answer those questions as soon as possible after they arrive in your inbox.
Sadly, an inbox can be too easy to ignore if you don't keep paying close attention to it. However, it's worth adopting the attitude that ignoring even a single customer query simply can't be contemplated. In fact, you should respond even to messages not strictly requiring your response.
For example, as CustomerThink advises, if a customer emails you a compliment on your product or service, reply to thank that person for going out of their way with this thoughtful gesture.
Try not to be excessive with your advertising
Yes, you need to get the word out about what you offer - and, to this end, why shouldn't you leverage a mailing list which you have built up with details of current customers?
You might actually maintain several lists of subscribing customers; those lists could include one for postal deliveries, another for emailing, and so on. Still, when launching a new product or service, resist overly often reminding these subscribers about it through every single channel.
Otherwise, customers could react by unsubscribing and perhaps even migrating to a rival company. With your advertising, you need to strike a line between advertising and, well, being a nuisance.
Empower your employees
What are your customers' needs? You can benefit from teaching your workers how to be autonomous in meeting them. That way, you can accelerate responses to each customer.
Giving your workers new tools can help in meeting these ends, but wouldn't taking up new technology incur extra expense? Rest assured that, even when you do spend more, this increase can be cancelled out by savings later down the line.
After learning how VoIP can transform your business, you could be heartened to see that a hosted phone service could reduce your firm's monthly phone bill by as much as 90%.