Customer service is understandably a vital aspect of any business, which is why many Fortune 500 companies are willing to spend a good portion of their budget on training client-facing employees. For small businesses who likely don’t have the same amount of money to work with, it can feel like a significant challenge to ensure that customer service remains consistent and welcoming to everyone that walks in the door.
This is especially difficult in the events industry, where every client has distinct needs, and each event carries its own set of expectations.
Still, happy customers are returning customers—and they’ll also be ready to share your name with friends and family. So, how can a small business ensure that their clients are being treated respectfully across the board? Let’s break down a few strategies.
Photo courtesy Unsplash - https://unsplash.com/
Make it official
It’s essential to come up with company protocol so that your team understands what is expected when handling an event. Regardless of the differences between certain events, your service must remain consistent. For example, we stress the importance for our drivers to be on time, courteous, responsive, and adhere to the proper dress code. Our team is committed to being dependable and accessible in the way items are delivered, and clients are greeted. No ifs, and's, or buts—it’s important for all of these things to be mandatory policy so that we don’t lose consistency.
Break down guidelines by position
Every department in our company has a different set of customer service protocols, which are promoted and overseen by their supervisor. Our linen department has been trained one way, just as our drivers, operations team, salespeople, and showroom staff have been trained in ways that align with their daily responsibilities. Each team learns how to interact with clients and meet the expectations that are set for their interactions.
Address complaints upfront
If a client is unhappy with a policy, it needs to be addressed. Don’t allow their dissatisfaction to be ignored and fester—that’s how you lose customers. Instead, kindly clarify why the policy is in place and, hopefully, after a thorough explanation, they will understand. Remember that they aren’t familiar with the business like you are, so they may need to be educated to have a better grasp on your perspective.
With that said, don’t gloss over your policies. They are in place for a good reason and if you start making exceptions, you may get taken advantage of. This sets a dangerous precedent. In some cases, there is room to bend but remain consistent with the parameters that you enforce.
If it’s an employee who handled something in a way that left a client unhappy, address it immediately and assess the situation. Use the experience as a training tool for the entire company to learn from it, and refresh the company rules if needed.
You must view every experience as an opportunity to learn a lesson and, in some cases, those experiences can help us create additional customer service protocols. As the market gets more fierce and competitive, we must stay up-to-date on what we can do to set ourselves apart from competitors and best serve our clients who have put their trust in us.