The importance of outstanding customer service for SMEs

SMEs play a crucial role in the economy, accounting for a significant portion of job creation and economic growth. In today's competitive market, providing outstanding customer service is essential for the success of SMEs. According to Khoros, 83% of customers agree that they feel more loyal to brands that respond and resolve their complaints.

From increased customer satisfaction to a positive reputation, excellent customer service can have a noteworthy impact on the growth and profitability of SMEs. As we delve into the importance of outstanding customer service for SMEs, what are the benefits of implementing this?

The benefits of excellent customer service for SMEs

Whether it’s through understanding and meeting customer needs, hiring and training customer-focused employees or encouraging and responding quickly to customer feedback, SMEs must strive to deliver exceptional customer service to stay one step ahead of their competitors.

By prioritising customer satisfaction and building customer loyalty, SMEs can enhance their reputation and benefit from positive word-of-mouth referrals. These referrals, both in person and via social media, can lead to increased sales and profits for the business. Data from HubSpot suggests that 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase when referred through social media.

Ultimately, the investment in providing outstanding customer service can pay huge dividends over time in today's business environment.

How can SMEs provide outstanding customer service?

Here are several ways SMEs can focus on their customer service which will become a key differentiator to serving customers better.

  1. Understanding and meeting the needs of the customer

By taking the time to understand the needs and preferences of each customer, SMEs can provide a tailored experience that sets them apart from the competition. According to Segment, 70% of customers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences. Companies can’t afford to neglect the needs and expectations of their customers.

This can be achieved through various means such as personalised recommendations, customised promotions, and proactive communication. By providing a tailored experience, SMEs can show their customers that they value their business and are committed to delivering exceptional service.

  1. Hiring and training customer-focused people

A company's employees are often the first impression customers have of a business, and their behaviour and attitude can impact the customer experience. SMEs should look for individuals who have excellent communication skills, a friendly and professional demeanour, and a genuine desire to help others.

SMEs can ensure that their customers receive consistent, high-quality service, no matter who they interact with. Hiring and training customer-focused employees is an investment that will help SMEs stand out in a competitive market.

  1. Using technology that can enhance the customer experience

Having an effective phone system is crucial for your customer service strategy. As seen on our Chatterbox Matrix, many businesses are reliant on picking up the phone to conduct business, and customers prefer speaking on the phone to voice their concerns.

Businesses should have the tools and technology to offer a level of customer service that consumers expect. A cloud-based phone system can guarantee enhanced customer engagement with flexibility that can work for all employees. The integration of CRM tools with other business technology can improve the efficiency of customer outreach.

  1. Being receptive to feedback and encouraging customers to share feedback

Proactively listening to your customers and intentionally collecting feedback is an insightful way to adjust and adapt your customer experience over time. Top-performing companies understand the critical role that customer feedback plays in business.

Whether feedback is positive or negative, you must be aware of where these discussions are taking place. 75% of Internet users use social media to research brands and are likely to make decisions based on what others say. If there are negative comments, businesses must make a conscious effort to rectify their grievances rather than ignoring them.

While the phone remains a prominent communication channel, businesses shouldn’t disregard their social presence as more consumers attempt to connect with brands online. Identifying your desired outcomes through feedback and outlining the process for getting there is an ideal way to bring more value to customers.

Final thoughts…

Improving customer service is a challenge for SMEs and requires careful consideration of several factors. SMEs should bear in mind the potential obstacles they face and make use of the resources available to them. Balancing cost and quality to ensure that customer service is enhanced without incurring excessive costs is also an element that needs to be considered.

It is also crucial for SMEs to manage customer expectations by being transparent and delivering on their promises. In today's customer-centric market, understanding and meeting customer needs are no longer optional but essential for the success of SMEs.