Big companies talk about giving customers a great service experience, but according to In The Lead, a column featured in The Wall Street Journal, “It’s often just talk.

Earthlink, the Atlanta, Georgia-based Internet service provider, was one company featured in the article. It outsources much of its customer care to other countries including Canada and India. However, outsourcing outside of the country isn’t the point.

There are many U.S.-based companies that allow their service to remain at sub-par standards. Lack of training to solve customer care issues is most times the problem.

Customer support is one area where small and solo business owners have the potential to outshine larger firms. It’s one of many hats we wear every day, and it fits well because we know that consistent blunders will turn the customers we’ve worked so hard to gain away for good. Our small companies will generally not allow that to happen.

Here are three ideas to help you manage customer service.

1. Create your own procedures handbook. You can’t possibly keep every solution in your head. Document common problems and how each is solved (also work on eliminating those common problems).

2. Post a frequently-asked questions page on your Web site, and for customers who may not have Internet access, document and mail the FAQ in text format. I’ve suggested this at seminars conducted at trade and business shows.

3. Ask other solo business owners how they manage client care. You may have to ask many owners this question to find new solutions, but the responses will keep you focused on customer service.

I have one customer who is owed an apology and complimentary gift, which will be sent today by mail. The oversight on my part needs a remedy that’s completed right now.

Shirley George Frazier

Shirley George Frazier is recognized worldwide as one of the foremost experts on marketing strategies for small businesses and creative professionals who operate firms without employee assistance. In business since 1990, Shirley is president and CEO of Sweet Survival LLC®, a firm specializing in creative business and marketing support. Shirley transforms systems by assisting professionals to start and manage productive work environments, For more information or to invite Shirley George Frazier to your next event, call 973-279-2799 or email info@solobusinessmarketing.com.

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