By Clare McNeeley

Good customer service is a big piece of the sales equation. According to a Wunderman study, 79% of customers will buy from brands they believe care about their customers.

For SMB owners, putting a strong focus on customer service is essential to growth. Here are some quick tips to help you along the way.

  1. Name to name basis

Talk to your customer as you would friend – conversationally – which builds trust. Customers do not want to hear a script about a product. Asking your customer’s name and using it also builds familiarity and goodwill.

  1. Relate to your customers

Find ways to connect with your customer. It can be through the product or service, or it can be something completely different – your hometown football team, the weather, noticing something special about them or something else. Adding a personal (but not inappropriate) element can knock down barriers.

  1. Response time is everything

Attention spans are short. If a customer has questions, respond immediately – whether through a website inquiry, a social media inquiry or post, phone call or in person. Fast, concise and clear answers can close a sale.

  1. Personalize responses

If a customer sends a query or complaint via email or direct message over social media, be sure to respond to it. Start your reply by addressing the customer by name and thanking them for considering your product or service. Then share the requested information and offer to handle any other questions that come up.

  1. Own up to mistakes

When customers complain, often, they want to be heard and know that someone cares. More importantly, they want a quick and courteous resolution to the issue. Apologize and offer a solution.

  1. Recognize the loyal customers

Be sure to thank your loyal and frequent customers by making them feel special. That doesn’t always have to be a discount. For instance, you can give them a unique shopping time or a presale opportunity. You can invite them to an open house or event thanking them for their business.

  1. Allow easy returns

If you don’t offer a reasonable return policy, you are not going to have return buyers. Ensuring that shoppers are happy with purchases is vital to repeat business.

  1. Shipping shouldn’t be an inconvenience

Offering free shipping is a huge plus, and thanks to Amazon – somewhat expected. Make sure that your products ship safely and quickly to customers. Make returning the item as convenient as possible for them as well.

  1. Listen to feedback

Using customer surveys to improve your service is a great way to make more customers happy. Another great way to stay in the know is to regularly check your online reviews and respond to all of them if possible.

  1. Make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible

For brick and mortar retailers, think about the aesthetics of the shopping experience- for all the five senses. For instance, make sure the store always smells fresh and clean and that relaxing or themed music is playing unobtrusively in the background. Decorate for seasons and holidays and so forth.