Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

1. Answer your phone

The first rule of good customer service is that your business phone needs to be answered. Get call forwarding. Or an answering service. Hire staff if you need to. But make sure that someone is picking up the phone when someone calls your business.

2. Don’t make promises unless you will keep them

This may well be the most important of all of these eight rules for good customer service. Not plan to keep the promises you make. Will keep them. Reliability is one of the keys to any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception.

3. Listen to your customers

Is there anything more exasperating than telling someone what you want or what your problem is and then discovering that that person hasn’t been paying attention and needs to have it explained again? Not from a customer’s point of view.

4. Deal with complaints

No one likes hearing complaints, and many of us have developed a reflex shrug, saying, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. Maybe not, but if you give the complaint your attention, you may be able to please this one person this one time – and position your business to reap the benefits of good customer service. Properly dealt with, complaints can become opportunities.

5. Be helpful

The other day I popped into a local watch shop because I had lost the small piece that clips the pieces of my watch band together. When I explained the problem, the proprietor said that he thought he might have one lying around. He found it, attached it to my watch band – and charged me nothing!

6. Train your staff

Train your staff (if you have any) to be always helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable. Do it yourself or hire someone to train them. Talk to them about good customer service and what it is (and isn’t) regularly.

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