MICRO entrepreneurs Tuesday night walked away fully satisfied after attending a Saint Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA) customer service workshop hosted by President Flavia Cherry.
Not only were they filled with excitement about the tips learned on how to improve their businesses, but understood the importance about being knowledgeable about their products and the services they offer.
The attendants were educated on the various characteristics which contribute to excellent customer service. Cherry stressed on the importance of the first impression which is made at the first point of contact by elements such as appearance, demeanour and a handshake. She said that it was critical for the service provider to understand that an unpleasant appearance or unfriendly demeanour can negatively impact the success of their business. She stated, “If we are going to consistently exceed customer expectations we have to recognise that every aspect of business has an impact on customer service.”
She talked about the customer service which is given to customers over the phone. She informed the attendants that it was important for them to smile even when on the phone with a customer as it is possible to detect unpleasantness in the tone of others. On that note she remarked, “Your customer is what makes your business work. The customer is what brings the money that allows your business to succeed. So when you are dealing with customers on the phone, always have a smile on your face.”
Cherry then proceeded to speak about face to face interaction and significance of eye contact. She also emphasised the importance of a firm handshake, informing also of the negative impression that is created when someone gives a feeble handshake during the conduct of business.
“A lot of people are not aware that a handshake says a lot about you, especially for us as women,” she began. “As women, we should move away with the feeble little handshake because sometimes people can perceive you as being soft and easy and available… because if you are not going to have the energy to give a firm handshake it will look like you’re not ready yet.”
She informed customers of the advantages of using social media to promote their businesses. She said, “We live in a time where social media is everywhere. You cannot have a business and truly succeed if you are not on social media. I strongly advise you to get on social media depending on the type of business, to promote your business. This is very effective,” she said.
Cherry also spoke about the importance of having an email address and indicated that SLISBA will create email addresses free of charge for vendors who do not have one for the purpose of enhancing their business.
She reminded the micro entrepreneurs that customer service was mainly concerned with taking orders. They were urged to remain patient, calm and collective even when customers were being unpleasant. They were told that it was critical to maintain a positive attitude in their approach to the customer.
Said Cherry, “And remember… be friendly, be nice. There are times when things will not go well, and if there is an issue, take the time and try to resolve the problem and always be willing to go the extra mile.”