When asked what sets you apart from your competition, many small business owners will enthusiastically reply, “We provide exceptional customer service!” This leads one to wonder, if everyone provides such wonderful service, how come online reviews, message boards and social media feeds are rampant with negative, if not downright blistering, reviews? I’m not saying theses business owners are mistaken. I’m merely suggesting that they don’t have an objective take on the situation. I would challenge any business claiming to offer exceptional service to answer the following questions.

How do you know?

You can’t base your customer service reputation on a few compliments from your most loyal customers – especially if those compliments consist of Stanley thinking his customer rep is “the bomb” because they are both shameless cheese heads or Prudence appreciating that you contributed toward her granddaughter’s new band uniforms.  The best method to gain an objective insight into your overall service delivery is through simple customer feedback surveys.  A quick, easy online survey can expose the opinions of those customers who are merely satisfied with your service who could easily become loyal fans. Their ability to identify unknown gaps in your service could open a treasure chest of opportunities for you to improve service and gain a unique advantage over your competition.

Does your team know?

Having the intention of providing exceptional service is one thing. But anyone who’s watched the TV show “Nailed It” knows that passionately wanting to create something is not enough to perfectly execute it.  Make sure your team is aware of and shares your commitment to customer service by facilitating customer service training, implementing an internal promotion to generate service improvement ideas, recognizing examples of exceptional service delivery, and most importantly, appropriately addressing gaps in service or unacceptable customer interactions.

Do your prospects know?

Your prospects are bombarded with businesses claiming to deliver exceptional service to the point that such claims become wallpaper – and not exciting boldly colored, flocked or foil wallpaper.  I am talking the tannest of tan grasscloth.  What potential customers do notice are online reviews, customer testimonials, and referrals from friends.  According to BrightLocal, 85% of consumers trust online reviews are much as personal recommendations. HubSpot Research also found that 60% of consumers found customer reviews to be trustworthy or very trustworthy.  Therefore, businesses who garner positive reviews make it easy for customers to purchase from them and do so with confidence.

Do you invite your customers to leave online reviews? Have you invited them to be featured in a testimonial on your website and social media? How are you highlighting the positive reviews you do have?

Ready to go from no service delivery plan to knowing you have an exceptional customer service strategy? Contact Electrum Branding for assistance with customer feedback surveys, customer service training, and online reputation management.