3 Customer Service Hacks Your Small Business Can Use

Kelly Spors

Great customer service isn’t just about keeping your customers satisfied. It’s about making them love you so much that they would never dream of going elsewhere.

As Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart once said, “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”

Some of today’s most beloved consumers brands are known for outstanding service. Their efforts have been rewarded with super-loyal customers who sing their praises any chance they get. Here’s a look at three lessons from companies known for offering killer service:

1. Apple: Simplify your customers’ lives.

In recent years, Apple has had a laser-like focus on making its customers’ lives easier. That goal trickles down to everything the company does, from the intuitive design of the interfaces on its iPhones and iPads to its quick and easy checkout process in stores. The company spelled out this goal in a video about its design process: “We simplify, we perfect, we start over, until everything we touch enhances each life it touches.”

Lesson: Identify your customers’ biggest pain points and work continually to relieve that pain.

2. Rackspace: Invest in training.

If you want your service to be great, employees on the frontlines and throughout the business must feel empowered to help customers. Rackspace, a web hosting company, puts its employees through an intense orientation process and uses role-playing to train its staff to solve customers’ problems or deal with upset or frustrated callers. The company—which refers to its employees as “Rackers”—has built a whole culture around team building and collaboration, chief operating officer Mark Roenigk said in a 2013 interview with Shmula.com. “Our customers run a lot of very different businesses, and we don’t expect them to all be tech savvy; that’s our job,” Roenigk said. “We ensure that we have diverse talent with deep expertise to help our customers solve problems and learn more about the best solutions for their needs.”

Lesson: Figure out what skills and information your employees need to improve your customers’ experience, and then devote the time to ensure your employees get them.

3. Zappos: Forget one-size-fits-all service.

The online shoe retailer, now owned by Amazon, is well known for its amazing service—from offering free and no-hassle returns to going to great lengths to please customers. The company allows its employees the flexibility to take extreme measures to delight customers. Zappos’s employee have done everything, from running to nearby shoe stores to buy out-of-stock footwear for customers to sending a free pair of shoes to a wedding attendant whose original order of dress shoes was misrouted by the shipping company.

In 2012, one Zappos “Customer Loyalty Team” member spent nearly 10 hours on the phone with one customer who wanted to chat about “life, movies and favorite foods,” according to Business Insider. “We don’t judge; we just want to help,” said the Zappos team member, Shaea Labus.

Lesson: Every customer has different needs and goals. Great service means listening and tailoring the experience to each of their needs. That means giving your employees’ flexibility, too.

As consumers share their opinions of businesses online more than ever, you can’t take your customer service too lightly. Consider how you can kick your service up a notch.

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