Monday, April 24, 2017

Customer Service - it matters!

Wendy Wedum, Pondera County
Originally broadcast on February 17, 2017.
Lately, I have been doing mini-workshops with the Conrad Chamber of Commerce on Customer Service.  I asked the Chamber members to complete a survey about customer service training, challenges and issues facing businesses in Conrad.  The survey showed customer service training ranged from no training up to 1 hour per week. The Center for Rural America describes small businesses as the backbone of rural communities.  Small businesses provide local jobs, goods and services that save residents a lot time and expense to avoid traveling to urban centers.  However, a customer who has a bad experience may look for another place to do their business.  In the long run, this could make or break a business.
If you are a business owner, you are probably aware of how important customer service is.  Today customers have many options where they choose to spend their money for goods and services and small businesses have had to adjust to global competition.  Providing quality customer service is an important part of a successful business.
In a business, there are a few layers of relationships between people who can be seen as customers.  The business owner, manager, and employees are also customers to each other.  Here it has to do with the work environment, setting expectations, and job duties.  Communications, listening and feedback are just as important as preparing your employees who serve the customers in your business. 
So, first I’ll start with employee support.  Your employees are the frontline of your business.  They are usually the first person a customer sees when entering your business.  When a customer enters your business, are employees easy to identify?  A name tag or a dress code helps local and visiting customers know who to ask questions. How have you prepared your employees to answer phone calls, explain the products or services offered, or how to find items?  Have you trained your employees how to deal with a customer complaint? 
Over the next several weeks, I will be addressing these issues and more during my radio program.  Until the next time, I challenge you to think about the customer service you offer and needs you may have.  I also invite you to share your ideas with me, it may help someone else.
If you want more information, feel free to contact me at Pondera County Extension.  Our phone number here is 271-4054

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