Sean SmithWhat makes good customer service for an early stage SME? Well firstly, I would suggest that you ditch the word good and start thinking about great: what makes great customer service?

For any start-up or small to medium sized business there are a few questions you must ask yourself before you can fully know the answer to what makes great customer service.

For starters, what business are you in? This is not what product or service you sell; you need to think beyond that. To truly understand your business, you need to work out what the customer is actually buying from you and then grasp why they are buying it from you.

Are they buying a long term business partner who is absolutely on their wavelength? Or are they buying the highest level of technical expertise? Are they buying a friendly face and a pleasurable company to deal with? Or are they extremely price conscious, buying the best value deal they can find?

Next, ask yourself if you know and fully understand your market. Who are your customers and what exactly do you sell to them? Who are your competitors and what are they selling to their customers? Could they be your customers also? Who is your target customer and why? Who are your most valued customers and why do these customers stay loyal to you?

Thinking about what makes you stand out from your competition is another key component. However this is only one element of being best in class. Think also about what makes you better, what makes you different, what your customers actually think about you and what you want your customers to do? If you can align the capabilities of your business with the opportunities that your customers give you, then you are on your way to creating a great platform to deliver great customer service in a consistent manner.

Understanding these elements and applying them correctly, perhaps to mirror the core values of the business as well, can also help you to achieve your goals and ultimately help you to keep your customers very happy.


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