Chapter 30

Exemplary Customer Service

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.

—Mahatma Gandhi

People can make or break your small business. The last chapter was about caring for the internal people you work with—your employees. This chapter deals with caring for the external people who make your business possible—your customers. If you take care of both constituencies, then small business success is yours.

Customer Service

Great customer service is something we all hear about, something to which many small businesses give lip service, but it is equally something that few small businesses ever really incorporate into their daily way of doing business. Sure, they try to treat their customers well, but that is not enough. For some, real customer service is impossible because the culture of the business is so hectic that employees are too rushed to make the extra effort with customers. For others, it simply is not important. Yet offering excellent customer service distinguishes you from the competition, and it need not be expensive or cumbersome. By implementing a few changes, you may see increased sales and a more loyal clientele.

Say that you own a little coffeehouse. A customer who buys ...

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