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There is a certain amount of pride I take when my family members or friends shop at local businesses in my hometown. Walking into the candy store, I am greeted with a hello and shown my favorite sweets or stopping by the used bookstore, I am greeted with a hello and asked if there is a certain author or book I am looking for.

The importance of customer serviceNeedless to say, I am more likely to spend money at a business where I am greeted with a smile, hello and a “how can I help you.”

It was quite disappointing the other day when a family member from out-of-town was excited to visit her favorite antique store. She had visited the store before and wanted to see if it there was something she could purchase for her home.

I was walking to the antique store when she and another relative were leaving it.

“We walked in and walked around and not once did the owner or her husband look up from what they were doing or talking about to acknowledge we were there,” my mom said.

My sister-in-law who would easily win the nicest person award was even dismayed.

“They didn’t even say hello,” she said.

This antique store went from being one they loved to visit to one they won’t visit again.

Why?

The owners were rude.

As a business owner, it’s imperative to your bottom line that you practice the art of good customer service. And you make sure everyone who works for you does the same.

I have another friend who always compliments and thanks people who do provide good customer service.

“It’s seems today good customer service is more rare than it used to be,” she said.

What’s even more frustrating, my friend shared, is when a business owner will treat one customer like royalty and act like another customer is invisible.

How you treat your customers is your best form of advertising. I know during December things may get hectic but here are a few things to remember:

  1. Always greet a customer who comes in the door. Be friendly and polite on the phone.
  2. Ask if they are looking for something in particular.
  3. If you don’t carry what they have, recommend a business in town who may have it. If your business is in a small town, the more the businesses work together to promote one another, the better. People remember small acts of kindness. The goal is to have people return to your town to shop.
  4. Remember people work hard to earn their paycheck. I am more willing to part with my money when I receive good customer service. If I am treated poorly, I won’t spend my money at your business.
  5. Remember to say thank you to the person for stopping in at your store – regardless if the person made a purchase or not.
  6. Share what’s happening at your business. A friend told me she went to a used clothing store to purchase some jeans. The owner told her to wait until the next day when she would receive a discount. If you have special events, discounts or buy one, get one free, share this information with your client. Your goal is to get them to return to your business.
  7. Let your client know you have a webpage or a Facebook page and to look for updates and news on those sites.

Trust me, I know it’s easy to get grumpy during the holidays. There is a bit of craziness in the idea that we add even more on our “To Do” list in December, topped with all the decorating, baking and celebrating.

When you are feeling impatient or overworked, just remember the best gift you can give to yourself is treating every customer who walks your business’ door like they are important.

Trust me. It will pay off.

 

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