Small businesses can benefit from Public Relations agencies by achieving greater awareness of their brand and products. However, before owners hire a PR agency, they need to do some work to guarantee that they get the maximum return on investment. No, I’m not referring to photo shoots or media training, but to something that is vital in order to succeed: customer service.
More frequently than I would like, I encounter businesses that have great potential, but underperform when it comes to customer service. Before you embark on an external Public Relations effort in order to attract new prospects, make sure that you review your policy and have it aligned with your company’s mission statement. Your customer service needs to be satisfactory and put the clients first. Leadership and communication are crucial when you attempt to take your company to the next level; therefore, putting into practice the following basic steps will ensure that your team will provide excellent service:
- In this digital age it is important to have an online presence, but your online success will depend on how well you treat your current and potential clients. If you have a website and social media pages to keep your clients informed and attract new ones, it’s imperative that you respond to messages in a timely manner. Establish a time period to respond to your incoming messages. Additionally, you can create an auto-reply to incoming direct messages on your Twitter account and include the information on when they can expect an answer on your Facebook page, so that people reaching out to you can know when to expect a reply.
- Be professional in your responses. Just because you are a one-man/woman show doesn’t mean that you can be less professional. Not speaking “in person” with a potential client is no excuse to be informal or to conduct yourself in an informal manner. Remember, you don’t know who is behind the screen and your company’s social media presence goes beyond posting pictures. Your social media pages are a source of information and sales as valid as a face-to-face or telephone conversation. Give concise answers and solutions to their requests/complaints. Confirm that your response is free of grammatical errors before you hit Send.
- Mobility doesn’t mean Informality. With the influx of sophisticated mobile devices and high speed Wi-Fi, we all feel more freedom in how and when to conduct business. If your office is a cell phone and a tablet, have a customized voice mail that provides the name of your establishment, hours of operation, and other relevant information. When answering calls on-the-go, be aware of your surroundings. No one likes to compete with outside noises, such as a dog barking, a baby crying or kids playing in the background. Find a quiet place to answer any in-coming calls and if you can’t, don’t call back until you are back in your “office.”
The success of your company begins with the basics. Create a customer service policy, train your employees or family members, and enforce it. Establishing and maintaining a company requires you to keep customers happy and have them return as frequently as possible. Treat your clients, as you’d like to be treated. Good luck and remember that, without them, you wouldn’t have a business.