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Small Business Friday encourages a focus on customer service

We need you! Yes, you the customer. By supporting your local small business you are supporting your local community. The money you spend at small businesses helps to stimulate the local economy and keep business booming in your area. Furthermore, by supporting small businesses, you show your appreciation for what they do in your neighbourhood and you also help to secure the jobs of people in your local community.

As South Africa continues to grow and develop its entrepreneurial spirit and build businesses that last, Mike Anderson, Founder & CEO of the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC), says that SMEs need to be aware of the important role customer service plays in the overall longevity of their businesses.

“People buy from people and thus the service they receive will imprint on them immediately. If it is good, they will go back again, however, if it is bad, they will not return. It’s that simple in a small business, so our advice is to make every customer engagement a good one,” says Anderson.

He says that SMEs need to realise that a company’s success will not only be as a result of its products. “There is a fantastic opportunity with a customer to make every exchange an unforgettable experience. This will go a long way in terms of developing goodwill and building a long-lasting relationship.”

The advantage of running a small business is that you have an opportunity to offer excellent personalised service. You can communicate directly with your customers and use the feedback they give you to enhance the customer service which you deliver. You can also make sure that the products you offer are not the cookie-cutter products of big-box stores but rather tailor-made for the community you serve.

Small Business Friday is coming up tomorrow, the 4 September, it’s South Africa’s biggest movement aimed at mobilising South Africans to support their local businesses. Anderson says that this movement creates awareness of the small business community and it presents a great opportunity for these businesses to take advantage of this and offer customers excellent service: “SMEs are not invisible to customer experience and need to empower their entire business and create a culture of providing good customer service at

all levels. Make every experience a fantastic one, giving a bit extra to ensure customers come back time and again.”

He says achieving better customer service can be simple in its process. There are five simple tips to consider when working towards a Fantastic Friday:

1. Walk in your customer’s shoes

Understand what they require and also how you would want to be treated as a customer. Just starting off in the right direction can make all the difference.

2. Embrace all feedback

Thanks to social media, customer feedback can come flying at you from all platforms. Don’t ignore it, embrace both the good and bad. Let it assist you in making the necessary changes in your business to improve customer service.

3. Don’t oversell

Retain your integrity and sell or advise only what you truly feel the customer requires it. This will create a trusting relationship and build priceless loyalty within your customer base.

4. Tick all the boxes – even the boring ones

Make sure your processes and administration are top-notch. Don’t overlook the importance of a slick business process methodology as this will have an impact on customer service.

5. Less haste more speed

Take your time and deliver your best. Don’t rush an order or a job, take the required time and deliver a great product. This will ensure customers come back too.

6. Treasure the relationships you have with all of your customers

Rely on regular as well as sporadic customers to not only help you earn a profit but also to spread the word to others about your business. You must also enjoy getting to know your customers since they’re all an important part of the community you serve. More than anything, word of mouth counts when it comes to small business advertising, so it’s not surprising that you want every single customer to have a positive experience every time. This positive experience will keep your customers coming back.

We urge everyone to get involved now. Go to www.smallbizfriday.co.za and see how.