Despite all the discussion over SEO this and mobile friendly that, the bottom line of your business’s success comes down to one thing: how customers are treated when interacting with any aspect of your company. And yes, that means in real life, not just online.
It’s easy to forget that the big wide world of website traffic and search engine rankings doesn’t exist in a vacuum, especially when you spend as much time in front of your screens as those of us poring over analytics all day do. On the other hand, that means we’re in a position to know firsthand that even the best numbers just won’t make a difference unless they’re backed by some serious customer service.
Putting Your Customers First
The Internet has opened amazing doors for today’s small businesses and startups. Words like “solopreneur” have entered everyday conversation, and it seems like there’s always some new story running around about the latest person to quit their cubicle job and launch a wildly popular new product or service.
The flip side of that coin is that the way you run your business and relate to customers is subject to more transparency than ever before in history.
From glowing online reviews to disgruntled comments on your company’s Facebook page, it’s become absurdly easy for customers to share what they think of your business with the rest of the Internet. If you’re not treating your customers right, everyone will know. Immediately. And while negative reviews can actually benefit your business if you handle them right, too much negativity adds up to a steady decline in new and existing customers, and that’s a loss you can’t afford.
Great Customer Service
Amid all the work you put in maximizing the online customer experience, don’t forget to maximize the offline customer experience, too. No matter how gorgeous your website or how many comments on your latest blog post, if the in-person customer experience doesn’t live up to your online reputation, your business won’t keep its head above water very long.
So much of providing good customer service honestly comes down to common sense stuff, like greeting folks with a smile and not ignoring people in the checkout line while you finish your personal phone call. But great customer service goes beyond that: things like really taking the time to listen to customers’ needs, concerns and questions, whether they’re coming from an email inquiry or a person who walked into your brick-and-mortar place of business.
A lackluster commitment to your customer base is a definite recipe for a rocky road ahead. Instead, make your customer feel like they matter more than any other customer, and they’ll respond by going out of their way to keep supporting your business.