customer

By Mike Kappel

As a small business owner, you know the importance of putting your customers first, but what efforts do you make to follow through? No matter what type of small business you have, you have an advantage over large corporations. You can excel in offering personalized services to each customer.

If you really want to put your customers first, you need to put precedence on a personalized customer experience. Otherwise, you’ll be just another business losing customers to someone who prioritizes personalized service. My case in point: 66% of consumers who leave a business do so because of poor service. Learn how to keep, and grow, your customer base by offering personalized customer service.

Why personalized service matters

Personalizing your services to customers promotes loyalty, increases your sales, boosts your business bottom line, and improves your reputation. And, it makes your business unique from other, bigger businesses.

Not to mention, customers want personalized service. Give the people what they want! Let’s take a look at some of the stats:

According to the 2017 Customer Service Barometer report, 76% of millennials and 96% of baby boomers say that businesses don’t exceed their service expectations. But as you can see from the list of statistics, excellent customer experience is at the forefront of every consumer’s purchasing decisions. Disrupt the industry and offer services that go above and beyond through personalization.

How to offer personalized service

Step up your personalized service game by trying the following.

1. Develop relationships with customers

By developing a relationship with each person you encounter, customers feel valued.

To develop a relationship with customers, you need to be conversational, friendly, and respectful. Ask customers their names, talk with them about their day, and offer your help.

Find out what customers are looking for. Remember, the majority of customers want to work with people who understand their needs.

You could also develop relationships by creating a loyalty program for small business. Through loyalty programs, you can offer rewards when customers frequent your business, boosting profits and helping you get to know customers.

Another way to strengthen your relationship with customers is to ask for feedback. This way, you can make personalized changes to your business to meet customer needs. Plus, 70% of companies that provide excellent customer experience use customer feedback.

2. Personalize interactions that aren’t face-to-face

In this digital age, many customer interactions won’t be in person. You can contact customers many ways, including via email, social media, and telephone. You must personalize these interactions just like you would face-to-face interactions.

Because my company, Patriot Software, sells online payroll software, neither myself nor my employees interact with customers face-to-face. However, this isn’t a setback to offering personalized service. We make sure to customize every interaction we have through phone conversations, emails, live chats, and even doing screen shares to guide customers through the process.

So if you are an online business, or you offer a product that customers don’t need to come to your business to get (e.g., cloud-based software), don’t worry. You can still use personalization.

Start by introducing yourself and getting to know the customer. The experience will feel more personalized for customers if they know who they’re talking with and if you personalize products based on their needs.

If customers have questions, put in the time to answer them. Not every person is the same, and some people learn differently and at different speeds than others. Personalize service when helping customers by guiding them through your online website or talking in depth about your products.

3. Use software to track customer behaviors

True personalization only works if you remember the customer.

To help you remember customers and their likes and dislikes, try customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software helps you collect and organize information about your customers, including their personal information, purchase histories, and preferences, so you can customize interactions and outreach.

For example, you could send customized coupons to a customer in email campaigns based on their purchase history and preferences.

Mike Kappel is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of Patriot Software Company, and its subsidiaries. Patriot Software, LLC is a developer of online payroll and accounting software for U.S. small-business owners. Connect on Twitter: @PatriotSoftware.