We are all so obsessed with always focussing on the large, the big and the visible that we forget that there also the small, tiny players in every field who redefine success sans the so called “big status”. Especially in the case of customer service, it is a fact that small companies overshadow the multinationals
1. Empathy: One basic fact of life is that everyone, irrespective of who they are and what they are doing, need to be understood and treated with sincere respect. Small companies function better on their loyal customer base and over the course of time, end up having personal relationship with each customer. The level of comfort then allows the customers to be understood and cared for in a manner that they desire and deem fit. As such, instead of ignorant or rude customer service personnel, it is important to have empathetic, concerned and sincere employees who treat their clients as humans and not merely material business prospects. People need to be shown that they are being cared for even when the stakes are not too high.
2. Flexible operations: Protocol and rigid guidelines to customer service operations are a major deterrent in the way of establishing meaningful customer relations. While instructions are important to correctly train beginners and execute large-scale operations, customer service is a dynamic field that needs to be handled with care. Every customer is different and needs to be tackled with a different kind of demeanour.
There is no set formula that will work for every single person every single time. Small companies, primarily due to their size and emphasis on customer care essentials, end up understanding this secret to a larger extent than the big companies. Big firms are lost in their rat race to be at the top and indulge in such cut-throat competition that they often compromise on the very factor that promoted their growth- ‘Customer is the King’
3. Effective Communication: Large companies are tied down by various levels of vertical hierarchy and horizontal departments. The more the number of people, the more difficult it becomes to communicate ideas and situations effectively. In most organisations, the original essence of the message is lost by the time it reaches the person concerned. It seems more like a game of Chinese Whispers rather than a system of sending and receiving messages. Misunderstandings, confusion, misinformation, cluelessness are evils that at their worst, are borne by customers and ultimately the business in question. The key is to eliminate unnecessary channels that only complicate the communication process. Live chat and easy-to- understand FAQ sections as opposed to the traditional, pre-recorded phone calls can go a long way in rectifying this error. Customers are just like students making the transition from high-school to college. They enjoy the personal attention that they once got in the small classes at school and find it frustrating to adjust to the extremely huge class strength at universities. Small companies function like schools and give their customers the service that tallies in their comfort zone. That is why it is no surprise that they dominate the customer service market!