Every small business owner knows that customer service is the trademark of the mom and pop, but you would be surprised at some of the mistakes I see all the time when I travel. It's time to get your customer service back on track.
Mistake #1: Your team mumbles through their phone greeting. If you have developed a trademark way to answer the phone you can't slide through it. Sure, the team has said it a million times, but the person calling may have never heard it before. If you are slurring it together in an unintelligible manner, trust me, they caller does not understand you.
You have two solutions. One, ditch it. If it is so cumbersome that the team can't say it 100 times a day it would be better to not have it and have a pleasant hello.
Option two is to really confirm that the team is committed to saying the catch phrase every time in a way that is understandable. Sure, to their coworkers they sound ridiculous, but this isn't for them. Remind them who they are saying it to and why they are saying it.
Mistake #2: Chatting and not helping customers. Sure, it's slow in the shop and your friend shows up and leans into the counter with a bit of juicy gossip. You get deep into the conversation and forget that your customers probably don't care what Sandra and Kyle are up to and want to actually buy something. Even if you say hello to the customer you are still being rude by continuing the conversation.
Tactfully let your friend know that you will be off at 6 and have her call you then. If she doesn't get the clue just let her know you can't talk at work. Sometimes you have to be blunt to the Chatty Cathy's of the world.
Mistake #3: Smoking outside your front door. Here's a secret that smokers may not know. Non-smokers do not want to walk through smoke. Ever. They probably won't come into your store if you are smoking at the door.
These are the easy things to fix in your business. There are a million ways for a customer to purchase things and if you are trying to keep your brick and mortar open you want as few barriers as possible. Letting customer service slide is one of the mistakes that business owners make because confronting employees or retraining them can be time consuming. Take the time to fix the mistakes because it really is the small things that make customers keep coming back.
Photo: Los Gatos, CA - one of the cutest downtown's and the Grill House was great.