Managing Risk: Positive Customer Relationships & Insurance

Customer Experience

In CMS Wire, Serafire Marketing Principal Dianne Denton lays out how to handle customer service the right way and highlights several key tips, including building relationships and paying attention to social media.

In all, Denton’s tips may seem rather common sense to small business owners, though they aren’t always heeded. For example, she explains that “[n]eedlessly forcing customers through phone trees in an effort to “look bigger” is generally a bad idea”. This action, which she attributes to far too many businesses modeling their phone policies after large corporations in an attempt to “look big”, can easily backfire. Indeed, she highlights quick phone response as a way small businesses can better connect with customers.  “If customers know they can quickly get through and get what they need, they can act immediately,” she writes.

Still, other areas may seem less intuitive for small business owners, such as having a feedback system. “You can’t adjust to customer feedback if you don’t get any,” explains Denton. Many businesses, it would seem, do not maintain ways for customers to leave potentially valuable feedback, or only received feedback from a limited pool of customers. Denton highlights the fact that at one point, much of her company’s feedback was coming directly from customers attending an appreciation party, e.g., those customers who were already happy with the service and therefore more likely to leave positive feedback.

Overall, Denton’s points make sense for a company trying to build and maintain positive relationships with customers. However, small business owners may want to note that relationships with customers won’t always be positive. Some customers will be unhappy for various reasons. A customer suffering from a slip and fall incident in your store, for example, may not be able to be easily placated. Businesses should, of course, carry important liability insurance such as Business Owners Policies that can come into play when dissatisfied customers decide to escalate their anger with your service.

Nevertheless, Denton notes that small business owners need to “avoid adopting practices that drive your business into the ground.” While this comes with overall policy related to how small businesses treat customers and build relationships, lacking a liability insurance fallback for times when a customer’s issue is too insurmountable to be met with apologies is likely a wise business move.

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