Small Businesses Can Gain an Edge By Beefing Up Customer Service

There are many reasons that consumers may favor small businesses over larger competitors, and one of those cited most often these days is that the smaller companies do more to make customers feel valued and can treat their potential problems or concerns with a greater amount of care. Therefore, by focusing on customer service in general, independent enterprises may be able to create even more of an edge for themselves.

While larger stores can offer consumers low prices and a wider selection, some might be willing to eat the larger costs that they’ll typically find at smaller companies simply because they value the level of customer service the latter provides, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more room for improvement with most companies, according to a report from the Wilkes-Barre Times-Tribune. The good thing about this fact is that because most smaller companies already deal with the vast majority of their companies face-to-face to begin with, they may be able to find themselves more attuned to what those people want in their daily interactions without having to conduct any sort of formal survey. Simply by seeing what people’s major issues are over the course of a week, small businesses may be able to shift their customer service focus to be more receptive.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t do more to better compete with their larger counterparts overall, the report said. For example, branching out with their offerings can lead to a more diverse customer base overall, and the combination of a broadened selection and continued high level of customer service could make such a company a rather attractive option for consumers. While it’s probably not all that wise to branch out too broadly – and move into areas which don’t have a lot to do with their current operations – but taking an extra step could be a wise idea. For instance, coffee shops moving into baked goods and other treats might find that customers are receptive to the ability to purchase these in addition to their morning cup.

Repeat business the key for smaller companies
When it comes to small operations, it’s likely that the same several dozen people or companies will become the most frequent faces walking through the door or calling on the phone, and therefore it’s very easy for owners and employees alike to get a feel for exactly what they want, the report said. Those desires or even needs may be fairly instructive going forward for exactly what people want out of the company itself. In addition, though, it’s important to treat them as far more than revenue sources and data points.

“Especially in this small community, familiarity is the key to success,” Robert Williams, executive director of the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education at Misericordia University in Dallas, told the newspaper. “Everyone wants to feel like Norm walking into Cheers.”

Focusing on satisfying those familiar faces may also be a very good way for smaller businesses to spread word of mouth. If they’re walking away from the experience and telling people, “You won’t believe the kind of service I got,” then that can be very valuable indeed, and could create a greater chance for repeat business than low prices. That, in turn, may establish a base from which companies can grow and flourish.

Owners worried about a solid financial foundation, however, may need to look into other areas. That includes making sure they have the exact right kind of small business insurance coverage. The most affordable workers’ compensation or liability insurance policies that also fit a company’s needs, for example, could be vital to future financial success.