Every small business is going to experience periods of success and periods of failure. It’s part of the universal business growth process. You might become frustrated when creating your products, developing your brand, or connecting with customers. You will be able to weather these ups and downs with ease if you make sure to start your business with a solid customer service strategy.

Here are 7 techniques to build a great customer service strategy – regardless of your industry.

Establish a Positive Culture

When times are difficult and frustrating for you and your team, having a culture that is warm, welcoming, and positive will help reduce tension. Anytime you start a new business, ask yourself the following questions.

· What does our company stand for?

· What is our purpose in the community?

· What services or products do we offer?

· What is our fundamental operational philosophy and mission?

· What are our company values?

· What’s our vision – for today and tomorrow?

These questions can and should be answered by your mission statement. This is something that should be done before opening the business, but you can always formulate on later if needs be. When your business develops a strong culture from the outset, your people will stick with you when times are tough. Additionally, a strong and positive culture helps to attract and retain customers.

Your vision and mission should be consistent across all forms of communication, from company Facebook posts to emails and face-to-face customer interactions..

Find the Right People

The success or failure of a small business can usually be attributed to the people working for the business. If they are positive, proactive, and customer-centric, the business is likely to thrive. Those who are negative, dispassionate, and have a hard time working with others will result in negative feedback and interaction with customers.

To avoid failure from the outset, make sure to hire the right person for every role. Determine what attributes are important to your business, the position, and what values are in line with your company culture. Establish hiring processes and questions that allow you to verify the fit of every customer, and never compromise just to fill a position.

Implement a Smart Approach with Innovation

While it’s important to stand out among your competition, taking a gradual approach to innovation and creativity can be a good course of action for a start-up. It’s just as important to focus your growth on improving your ability to serve customers. One item all companies can improve is automating their customer service processes. If you offer shipping to customers, automate the process, invest in technology that provides up to the minute updates on shipping deliveries, or allow customers to customize their delivery choices in ways that fit in with their unique lifestyles.

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Develop a Brand Identity

A brand is much more than a logo. It’s a way of life, it’s the operational philosophy or the culture you develop. However, when a customer reviews your logo or items associated with your business marketing and advertising platforms, they should instantly recognize it as belonging to you. This is the core definition of brand recognition – and it’s crucial to the success of any business.

While it’s quite difficult to reach brand identity levels of Coca-Cola, Nike, or others, you can begin the process by creating unique brand promotional efforts that will be ‘top-of-mind’ for your customers. Start by engaging with followers on social media and deliver on your claims and promises to cultivate brand recognition built on trust.

Take Care of Existing Customers

While it’s important to build your business to attract new customers, it’s more crucial to cater to existing customers. To this effort, consider rewarding your current customers by creating a loyalty program to thank them for their continued support. You can begin this process by gathering feedback from them through email or online surveys. Ask them for their feedback, which not only makes them feel wanted and important but also provides you with critical metrics that allow you to fine-tune your business.

Always Deliver on Expectations

Arguably the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is overpromising and underdelivering. Being positive and making promises is important – following through with those expectations is what develops trust. Stay away from creating bait-and-switch advertising programs or posting ‘click-bait’ ads, articles or posts social media accounts. Always operate with honesty, set realistic goals, and deliver on your promises for all business interactions; including with vendors, suppliers, and your employees.

Review Customer Feedback and Continually Improve

We talked about seeking the input of your customers earlier, but it’s important to drive this message home. Your customers are the lifeblood that keeps your employees paid, covers your bills and allows you to stay open for business. Receiving their feedback via customer surveys, posted reviews on Facebook, Google Business, or Yelp, or other platforms helps you learn from mistakes, and build on your successes. Business owners should also consider their business insurance options.

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