Any business worth its salt will be aware of the importance of making and keeping their customers happy and doing their best to improve customer service, and a live answering service allows businesses to do just that.

A happy customer could be the single catalyst to bring in thousands more; a dissatisfied or disgruntled customer has the potential to turn away perhaps more, hitting you negatively in the pocket. However, many of these businesses might not be familiar with the insights of what is required to help them improve their service to customers. Here are five strategies to excellent service that can help keep a smile on your customers’ faces — and on yours.

1. Pay attention to customer satisfaction
At every natural opportunity try to have a quick chat with your customers. Talk to them at the register, on the phone if they call or by website if they leave a comment or make an inquiry. Ask them a few questions about your service that might help you gauge their happiness with you. If you have a live answering service, put these questions in as a part of their script. Where there answers show dissatisfaction with anything you provide, do all in your power and that is reasonable to fix the problem.

2. What are your employees reporting?
Since employees are on the ground level dealing with your customers they will know first hand and before you do, what customers are saying about your business or its reputation of customer relations. Tap into your employees’ minds. Talk with them about what they have heard directly, overheard, or observed. This can be an excellent source of information you can use to improve customer service.

3. You are a customer too
Empathize. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you like or dislike with a store’s appearance, layout, employee behavior, troubleshooting ability, willingness to listen, etc? Would you rather talk to an automated machine, or a live answering service? If you take the time to think on these and other elements you encounter as a customer, you will certainly come up with ways to improve your own customer service.

4. Develop then share your customer service policy and philosophy
When you identify a pro-active customer service policy remember to share it with your employees and your live answering service if you have one) and have them instill it as part of their daily routine. After all, employees are on the front line of the establishment and will most times be dealing with the customers one on one on a regular basis. In this way, they have the opportunity to help improve the face of the business — or to defame it.

5. Who is right?
If you remember the old adage “The customer is always right” you will have moved closer to understanding how to improve customer service. When all else fails, even if the customer is in the wrong, do all you reasonably can to ensure the customer is satisfied with the situation. You do not have to compromise the integrity of your business or the rights of an employee to do this — just take the time to assess the situation, give the customer due respect and attention and assure them all will be done to bring acceptable closure to the matter at hand. At the end, even if that customer never returns to your establishment or never uses your service again, they can report that you were professional, pleasant and fair in dealing with them.

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