Small business: Customer service

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Stefan Sinclair, owner in Flash City.
Stefan Sinclair, owner in Flash City.

Of course every small business owner will wax lyrical about how important customer service is to them. I asked the companies featured this week to come up with some specifics so you could all compare it with what you do.

In our Small Business section, we feature a lot of small food businesses who supply or want to supply the big supermarket chains so I asked the Foodstuffs general manager of retail, Bob Chemaly what sort of customer service he was looking for from them.

An Auckland food manufacturer of the gourmet I love pies, which supplies supermarkets and specialist foodstores, talks about what they have done to cater to the big retailers requirements and claim their fast turnaround response rates beat the big suppliers.

In a different area altogether we talk to Stefan Sinclair, owner of the Two Hands and Flash City tattoo parlours about what his customers want and how he takes them by the hand through their first or 20th tattoo.

And when is customer service more crucial than for a funeral? Surely a time when your customer - the family - needs to be handled with the utmost care. State of Grace's Janet French, a former paediatric oncology nurse gives her view on what customer service means in her industry. A more demanding baby boomer client is demanding a quite different service these days.

Sales expert, meanwhile, Justin Cunningham talks about small businesses' unconscious need for approval and recommends they take a more professional and profitable approach.

Next week - we are going to be looking at the export sector and how small businesses can take their stories to the world. How do you tell international customers about your great product from this remote country?

- NZ Herald

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