SAN ANGELO, Texas — Business is good in San Angelo for most firms.
The influx of companies and workers related to the oilfield have created a lot of demand for goods and services, more so with some than others.
This same increase in business will attract competitors who want to take advantage of this growth. We have seen this in restaurants, hotels and other areas. Even with the increased business the weaker businesses may suffer, especially those who are weak in the area of customer service.
In many cases businesses in the same industry are similar; they carry similar products, provide similar services and are priced in a similar way. The differentiation between the weaker ones and stronger ones can be customer service. Good customer service can mean many things. But it all boils down to the care and keeping of the customer. Below is a brief discussion of the beginning steps.
The first step to having good customer service is to hire those employees who have a servant’s heart, who are naturally friendly and like to serve others and solve their problems. In my experience managing businesses, this is difficult to teach; people either have or they don’t have a servant’s heart. You have to hire for it. Then you can enhance their natural customer service skills.
Once you have hired these good people, take time to train them in your company’s values and what customer service means to you and your firm. Do not assume they will know. Consistently reinforce that good customer service makes the difference when all else is equal.
Next, empower or enable your people to assist customers and solve their problems. Give them the latitude within reason to take care of the many questions, problems and situations that come up in every business day. If you have hired good people, they will do the right thing for the firm in all situations, if given the opportunity and training.
Remember the saying, “People do business with people they like.” Employees who are friendly and helpful and who can take care of customer needs are generally well-liked, even loved! This can be a great differentiator for a business as customers will feel more welcome.
I will do a follow-up article in a few weeks to discuss some good customer service methods. The Small Business Development Center periodically conducts customer service seminars, as do other organizations in the area. Please check our website at sbdc.angelo.edu for all upcoming seminars and workshops.
“Business Tips” was written by Dave Erickson, Director and Certified Business Adviser IV, of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact him atDavid.Erickson@angelo.edu.