Running a small business without top-notch customer service is like inviting your friends for a gourmet meal and not providing any forks — you might be offering the best, but no one has the tools they need to enjoy it.
A crucial practice for success in the demanding, competitive work of running a business, in addition to providing a high-quality product or service, is attracting loyal customers. There are many ways to do that, including the use of an answering service and other forms of positive, friendly engagement with customers. 
Here are a few low-overhead ways to enhance customer experience:

1. Answer All the Phones

When you’re juggling all the tasks required of your business, picking up every call that comes in can be an insurmountable challenge. A phone answering service like VoiceNation can help you make sure you never miss a call or keep a caller waiting too long.
Outsourcing phone service may seem like a distant, hands-off approach to customer service, but its effect is actually the opposite. With trained phone operators at the ready, people who call your business will be able to reach a human being easily and have their questions answered and their needs addressed. This is a good way to show customers that your business devotes time and attention to them. Why wouldn’t they come back again and again?

2. Break Out Some Snacks

Whether you’ve got an office, a lobby, a cashier’s counter, or a different space entirely, visitors will feel welcomed by a clean, comfortable environment. A colorful bowl of candy, a plate of cookies, or a pot of coffee are thoughtful additions that complement the rest of your decorations and add a homey yet professional feel.

3. Incentivize Loyalty

Rewards programs are versatile, inexpensive tools that can benefit your business in multiple ways. Offering a discount or freebie to repeat patrons incentivizes them to keep coming back. It can also show visitors that you’re dedicated to building lasting, beneficial relationships with them.
Depending on what type of business you run, you can offer different perks to customers at little cost to your business. If someone completes a punch card for buying 9 beverages, you might discount their 10th, or if they spend a certain amount of money at your business, you might perform a small extra task with the service you offer. 
If the prize you offer is a worthwhile payoff for customers, they're likely to feel encouraged to maintain their relationship with you rather than taking their business elsewhere.

4. Ask for Feedback

Your repeat customers may know as much about your product or service as you do. Listening to and seeking out customer feedback reflects well on your business because it shows that you care about being accountable for the quality and reliability of your product and your business as a whole.
Just as importantly, feedback from customers can provide you with valuable knowledge about what’s working, and what parts of your business might not be attracting patronage.

5. Look Out for Your Staff

If your employees aren’t happy, they’ll have a hard time making your customers happy. When assessing your business’ work environment, here are a few questions that might help guide you:
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Keeping up with business is a lot of work for everyone on the job. If the people on your staff are overworked and tired, Idea #1 might help them as well as you. Not having to rush to the phone can alleviate some of the pressure that comes from multitasking.
Establishing a healthy work environment doesn’t have to cost any money, and employees who enjoy their job can make a huge difference in making sure all your customers are happy.
Implementing any or all of these ideas for customer experience enhancement can help you build a happy and growing clientele. These methods can also help with word-of-mouth marketing, as pleased customers may not only come back to your business, but also tell their friends about it. 
You already know the product or service you offer is excellent. By taking the steps to perfect customer experience, you can make sure your customers know that too.

WRITTEN BY

Daria Brown