Staff evaluation. “We do this on a quarterly basis to see how they are performing as regards good relationships with our clients,” Costales adds.
The customer is always right. “Do not assume you know everything about what you are talking about,” Maglipon says. Make sure your staff takes customers’ inquiries at face value, and tries to address them as efficiently as possible.
Customer feedback. “In the café area, it is the same thing. We familiarize ourselves with the taste of every food, and make suggestions if possible on what customers are looking for,” Costales says. “Some customers would even ask about specific ingredients of food we serve.”
Post-sale follow-up. To cement your relationship with your customers, Maglipon suggests that you ask them about their experience with the product or service you sell. You can also send them e-mails of product updates or birthday greetings, for example, to remind them about your past transactions and keep you top of mind.
Go high tech—or not. ’Treps are divided on the idea of using social media for customer service. On one hand, Costales says: “We use social media basically for promotion of the store, but we seldom use it for customer support. Most customer support services are more face-to-face in nature.” But Maglipon says: “Facebook and Twitter are good avenues for customer service and support. Responses are short and quick. People want their information ASAP. Anywhere between six to eight hours lag time for a response, except if the inquiry is posted late at night or after office or store hours, is unacceptable.”
“Following, adapting, and improving on industry best practices also helps,” says Maglipon. But for Costales, nothing beats the hands-on approach of entrepreneurs. “Show your customers how you can serve them in a more personalized way,” she says.