What sets you apart from your competitor? Most likely this question gets harder to answer each year as technology allows every business to advance at the same rate. The gap that differentiates competitors pricing and features has become smaller than ever before. Out of desperation to maintain an edge, many small businesses resort to the “we are cheaper than our competitors” approach to try to drive prospects to buy and customers to stay. However, we know that businesses that master exceptional customer service truly gain the long-term edge over the competition.

There will always be a competitor that is cheaper than you, but do you really want your business to have a reputation of cheap anyway? If your features or list of services is more wide-ranging than your competitors, it’s likely they will quickly adopt the same given that it is successful with the consumer. Now – If you let your focus be on your customer experience, you will surpass your competitors and keep customers for a lifetime.

4 Ways to Provide Exceptional Customer Service

1)     Provide the Solution

Ironically people love to buy and shop, but cringe at the thought of being sold to. Instead of rambling off a sales pitch, ask a lot of questions and customize your sales approach as the solution for the problem. You can learn about what a customer wants if ask, listen, and then help solve the problem they are facing.

2)     Build a Solid Team

Exceptional customer services starts with building the right team. Ultimately, you either build a team that loves what they do or doesn’t. People that enjoy their job will put forth more effort to work towards the same goal of providing exceptional customer service. Think of a time you were provided exceptional customer service – was it because the team was friendly, organized, and made your experience pleasant? A great team is what sets an exceptional business apart from a mediocre one.

3)     Address Complaints In a Timely Fashion

No one likes to receive or see a complaint floating around about their business. Fortunately, a business can learn a lot from a complaint and prove a lot about their business with how they respond. Address the issue in a timely fashion, offer any explanation you can, and make sure it will not happen again. Make sure to document complaints and take them seriously. They can keep you and your team on track, and allow for improvements to be made.

4)     Reward, Reward, Reward!

It’s easier to retain and up-sell an existing customer than to acquire new customers, and businesses recognize this. Think of all the customer loyalty programs that exist – you probably are an active member of several yourself. Special “Membership” discounts, earning points, and free offers after continued purchases are all great ways to thank your customers and keep them coming back.