Happy new year, Dallas-area professionals and business people. What are yooo gonna do with your business or high powered career this year? We’ve gotten some suggestions on article ideas, and we’re going to write a few of them to kick start the 2018. One of the most common suggestion is on customer service approaches by small businesses, particularly businesses in our community. So we urge such business entrepreneurs from hair stylists and independent nail techs to technology and financial services pros, to listen up!
- Deal better with complaints. The best way to improve your approach to customer service is to not take complaints personal. it is tempting to allow human nature to take over and respond to customer complaints with an equally negative attitude. You probably spent a lot of money and time building your business up from the ground floor and take a certain pride in your measured success. So when a customer gets in your face and yells about a mistake you may or may not have made, you get offended. Don’t give in to temptation! Every complaint is actually a tough quality improvement suggestion that, if you listen and act on it, can improve your bottom in the future. So consider every irate customer as an inadvertent “business partner” who is trying to help you. In fact, as part of building and improving your business, you may want to do a drill where a friend pretends to be an angry customer and have them yell at you so that you can practice how to deal with such clients. This is highly suggested for those in the glam business (hair, nail, fashion, etc).
- Be on time. Some customers are more lenient than others when it comes to being on time for appointments you agree to in your line of business. The industry with the biggest complaints when it comes to punctuality is the glam business (sorry to pick on y’all, but this is what we’re hearing). But many small businesses across all industries are guilty of not minding their calendars punctually. For instance, when it comes to hair appointments, many of our readers are saying their appointments often get double booked, or the hair stylist is 30-60 minutes late for an appointment. And what makes it worse, instead of an apology, the hair stylist only has a half baked excuse. What’s more, if the tables were turned, and the client was just 10 minutes late, the same hair stylist would get mad, claiming the client’s tardiness affects their money, so they book another client. Such hypocrisy will result in the loss of a valued, paying customer. Reciprocity is key. If you are late, then give the same consideration to your late clients. Of course, tardiness either way can impact your money, so it is best to be on time, and allow loyal, repeat customers some breathing room when late. Establish a written policy regarding appointment times and stick to it. Make sure your customers are also on board with your policy so that it is clear to both you and your clients.
- Seek regular feedback from your customers. It is easy to get so busy with business that business growth strategies are put on the backburner. But that would be a mistake. Set an appointment/reminder each week to send out a survey, combined with a discount coupon, in order to keep your customers engaged with your business. This is also how you can get suggestions on how to improve your business. Business improvements lead to business growth.
- Use technology smartly. In case you buried your head in your business throughout 2017, computer technology has made major leaps ahead of previous technologies unlike any other year before last year. The new year will see gains in these new technologies. Blockchain (made popular by Bitcoin), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, etc, have swept many corporations and are revolutionizing the way business is done. This holds true for small business as well. identify areas of you business that might benefit greatly from new technologies and update your business plans accordingly. If you need help in this area, send us a message using our Contact page or on social media (Facebook and Instagram).
Stay tuned as we have more suggestions and ideas in the weeks ahead. Happy Business 2018!