As consumers, we remember all too well when we’ve received outstanding customer service from a brand or small business, and when we haven’t. The simple truth is that businesses with good customer service are much more likely to win customer loyalty and earn their customers’ help in promoting the company or brand. Word of mouth is free, but bad news travels fast, and negative comments even faster. As a small business specialising in tax and accounting services, every tax accountant at Bunnett & Bassal understands the importance of great customer service, which includes the following tips:

Communication is key
This is a two way process, so you need to make sure that you are communicating effectively with your customers, and that you have mechanisms in place to take onboard their feedback. Thanks to the advancement of the Internet and social media, it has never been easier to stay in touch with customers and potential clients, as well as reach new ones.

Any and every small business has to start out by building up customers’ trust in their services and products. Your customers need to know that you will do what you say, and that you will deliver on time. You also have to anticipate the needs of your customer base because this is how you can stay one step ahead of your competitors. So monitoring the wider economic activity in the business sector is important, as is keeping on top of local news and affairs (in our case, Dandenong), and do start to think about what impact the state of the economy has on your customers.

Set up a business Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/Pinterest page, along with others appropriate for the company, and carry out regular surveys. Survey Monkey is free, and there are others out there too so it doesn’t have to cost a lot for you to listen to your customers and clients. You can also begin an e-newsletter to let your customers know what is happening and on trend (Mail Chimp is another free marketing tool, although we do recommend that you explore your options to find one that works best for you).

Get the right staff in place
Whether it’s the way they answer the phone, greet the customer face-to-face, attend a meeting or promotional event, or reply a customer service email, your staff members are the company. So make sure you employ the right people for the role that they are carrying out. Training is very important, as well as making sure that your staff have the right equipment and systems in place to do their job well.

Take a flexible approach
If you have been listening to your customers, then be sure to act on what they are telling you, and don’t forget to let them know this. Also, do bear in mind that you will be dealing with a range of budgets, so try to be flexible wherever possible, for example in the payment structure for your services or products. Set up a pricing framework that your staff can work within, or even start a customer loyalty scheme if applicable.

These tips might not guarantee your small business instant success, but they are crucial to great customer service. And whether you like it or not, in an Internet era such as ours, customer service is one of the best ways to grow your client base organically, so don’t skimp on this!