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Increase Sales in Your Small Business with Better Customer Service

This could be the year that you increase sales in your small business with better customer service but you need to know what not to do so in today’s post I decided to share some of my customer service experiences that may give you some insight.

This is part one in a series about how to increase sales in your small business.

During the past year I seemed to have run into a rash of customer service issues with products and services that I purchased. Call it what you may, when it rains it can sometimes pour, and it poured quite often in my neck of the woods in the areas of customer service and brand loyalty.

There’s an old adage – “You Get What You Pay for.” And personally I have found this to be so true when it comes to most commodity based items big or small.

Here are some real live examples, (with the names of the companies removed), that show what not to do and how companies are really blowing opportunities when it comes to customer service and increasing sales.

How to Lose Customers and Lower Sales

Above the Ground Pool – The top of the line pool itself is decent quality, but finding certain readily available replacement parts for this manufacturer’s pumps and filters is like pulling teeth from a cat after it gets out of the bathtub! Add to this the simple fact that service is non-existent even if you want to pay for it. So much for saving money and doing it myself. 🙁

Top Car Manufacturer – It’s not every day that one buys a new or used car and this last year we went through the process of buying a new vehicle from a local dealer versus over the Internet. The bottom line is that even though this automobile brand  has built a great brand based on quality vehicles, the car buying process is still the same and it sure doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon.

It’s the same old bologna and issues with integrity. Too many different stories.

In the end, the vehicle we purchased from the local dealer is ok, but I must say the attention to certain details was lost along the way, the door edge guards are still not installed properly and my back will never be happy while in this vehicle.

Will we go back to this brand? Maybe – but it will be online and working every angle to save money.

Could better customer service have increased sales in this local business? For sure. I would have upgraded the vehicle and sang their praises. 

Now let’s take a look at a small consumer item.

Sunglasses Company – A search for Some Protection from the Sun.

I never knew that buying a pair of prescription name brand sunglasses was going to be such a chore! After searching high and low for a licensed retailer I decided to call the sunglasses company directly and left a message for their director of sales and marketing, who never bothered to return my call. So I called again and left a message for the person who oversaw the state I reside in, and finally received a return telephone call but with no results.

I was doing everything I could to buy from this company but they just didn’t care. To them I was only one customer looking for a pair of quality prescription sunglasses.

At the end of the day I ended up using a pair of existing non-prescription frames I owned and then purchased non-brand polarized lenses with mirror coating.

The local small business optical store lost the sale and a brand loyal customer. The manufacturer lost a long time loyal customer and any chance of my returning to their camp.

How to Increase Sales in Your Small Business

The bottom line…If you want to increase sales in your small business just provide good customer service along with returning phone calls and responding to emails. After all, it’s not that difficult to satisfy the average consumer, especially if he or she is in the market for your product, service or information.

– Be Professional and friendly

– Go the Extra Mile

– Ask Questions and Survey Your Customers

In the second part of this series on how to increase sales in your small business I’ll share the other side of the coin and what I consider great customer service from a veteran retailer who went above and beyond.

Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Dave Krygier

Three of the Best Ways to Retain Customers and Increase Sales

In my previous post about how to increase sales I mentioned three customer service experiences that literally broke my relationship with these businesses. Today I will dig into three of the best ways to retain customers in your small business so you can increase sales.

 Although there are many more ways to keep customers in your wheel house, these three ways to retain customers will help improve sales if you continually work on them.

Now for a Really Great Customer Service story…

I purchased a piece of luggage from Jos A Bank in our local area under the guise that if anything ever happened to it they would replace it.

Well as life happens, this particular piece of luggage started to have some serious exterior issues with only 20 flights of service. So I brought it back and came to find out that Mr. Bank was no longer in the luggage business and they were in the process of merging with another mens clothing conglomerate.

Fortunately for me the man who sold me the bag was the manager and had some integrity. He went to bat for me and guess what…

He fixed part of the issue and also gave me a credit for $1000 that I could apply to anything in the store! Now that’s what I call customer service and taking care of the customer and going beyond. Considering the luggage cost less than $400, the repair plus the $1000 far exceeded the value that we paid.

Even though this company is not a small business their local store is run like one and they’ll receive my vote for great customer service and retain me as a customer for life.

This leads to what I believe are Three of the Best Ways to Retain Customers: 

A. Give Your Customers a Reason to Come Back to Your Business. Treat your customers like you treat your best friend and always have something to entice them to reenter your world.

B. Cross Train Your Sales and Customer Service Staff. This way you are never without someone in either department.

C. Find and Recruit People Who are Open and Willing to Learn Your Business. It seems that good, quality, trained retail sales and customer people are just becoming harder and harder to find these days. So when you find a really good quality individual, do what you can to support him or her and treat them like family.

Bonus – if you communicate openly with your staff about your expectations and goals, this can also be one of the best ways to retain customers, especially If you are building your business around a brand. This means that you have to make sure the people who work for you understand what brand loyalty is all about or it could mean their jobs and loss of income.

Make sense?

If not – let me know by forwarding me an email here at ClickandMortarblog.com and I’ll do my best to answer your question.

Until next time…

Dave Krygier