No small business can remain afloat without the support of dedicated patrons. As such, consumers losing faith in your business should be cause for concern, especially if negative feedback is piling up and causing tremendous damage to your professional reputation. In the interest of avoiding such outcomes, small business owners are urged to nip shaken customer faith in the bud by treating customer service with the importance it deserves. So, if you’re bound and determined to ensure that customers keep coming back, make an effort to avoid the following missteps.

A Lack of Courtesy

Even in the digital age, a little bit of courtesy can go a long way. Whether you and your team members are interacting with patrons in person, over the phone, by text or via email, it’s important to exude the utmost politeness. When customer service representatives treat patrons with courtesy and respect, miscommunications and complaints are far less likely to arise.

In many cases, business owners and customer service reps are curt and/or impolite without even meaning to be. So, whether you’re speaking to a customer or sending them an email or text message, take care to be mindful of your tone. For example, when communicating via text or email, thoroughly scan each message for instances of discourtesy before proceeding to send it. Additionally, when speaking over the phone or in person, make sure to maintain a calm, even tone and avoid reacting to things said by customers with disinterest or curtness.

A Lack of Customer Appreciation

Everyone likes feeling appreciated – and consumers are no exception! So, in addition to being as courteous as possible in all of your customer interactions, make a point of showing your patrons how much you appreciate their business at every available opportunity. This entails ending every customer interaction with a sincere “thank you” and exhibiting as much gratitude as possible when assisting patrons.

You can also show customers how much they’re appreciated by implementing customer loyalty programs. Although these programs are far from a “one size fits all” affair, they generally entail providing patrons who spend certain amounts of money with special discounts, free merchandise and other enticing rewards. For example, many restaurants and cafes provide customers with punch cards that culminate in free food and beverages.

You may also want to consider sending digital coupons and assorted offers to customers who provide you with an email address or phone number. This will give these individuals incentive to offer their repeat patronage and stay abreast of what’s happening at your business.    

A Lack of Data Security

A lack of data security can cause immense damage to your business’s reputation and your customers’ privacy. So, if your current level of data security leaves something to be desired, it’s imperative that you step up your game – and fast! Investing in cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions can go a long way towards keeping your customers’ financial data and personal information out of the wrong hands. Financial institutions, in particular, should look into purchasing the latest version of API Marketplace.  

A Lack of Accountability

Owning up to mistakes and making amends for them is a vital quality for any small business owner. While you may be tempted to hand-wave every problem a customer presents you with, such behavior is unlikely to generate any goodwill from patrons. This isn’t to say that every complaint you receive is going to be valid, but if you regard all customer grievances as unimportant and refuse to accept responsibility for errors on the part of you or your team, you’re unlikely to see much in the way of repeat business.

So, instead of dismissing every complaint you receive, take some time to consider what your customers are trying to say and how valid their concerns truly are. If you determine that a mistake was indeed made, promptly apologize and do everything in your power to make things right. You’re likely to find that even the most disgruntled patron can be surprisingly forgiving when their complaints are taken seriously.

It is impossible to overstate how vital good customer service is to the success of any small business. If you treat your patrons as expendable and regard their concerns as afterthoughts, you shouldn’t be surprised to a considerable downturn in consumer interest. So, if your current approach to customer service is riddled with problems, there’s no time like the present to treat this issue with due importance.