Regardless of the industry, everyone has had challenging experiences with customer service. Because the Internet has given businesses the opportunity to connect with more consumers, the focus on quality has given way to quantity. This practice devalues the concept of customer service, which shifts emphasis to a negative, self-serving business pursuit: Breaking records by the number of customers helped in an hour.

By taking the approach of quality over quantity, small businesses can have happier, more loyal customers. Here are five ways to create an exceptional customer experience.

1. Ask, Listen, Act and Sympathize! Because your customer was already frustrated enough to contact you, they are likely expecting their experience to be a negative one. This is the chance to admit when you are wrong, and follow up by fixing their problem(s).

key customer service statistics

2. Send an Update Email. Put yourself in your customers shoes. Send a simple note at the end of the day that says, “We’re still looking into the problem and hope to have a solution ASAP. Thank you for your patience.” That small gesture can stop customers from wondering what’s happening.

3. Create an FAQ Guide. To support everything else, provide the answers ahead of time. Generally, customer support issues are common and can be answered proactively. If you have a website, link to an FAQ or “Common Questions page”. You can also have these FAQs available in your storefront for customers to read.

Consumer Reaction to Bad Customer Service

4. Implement Feedback Surveys. Not only is this a great practice, but it’s a great selling tool, and doesn’t necessarily require a long list of questions. A Net Promoter Score survey asks one question: “Would you recommend us to a friend or colleague?” This survey is widely considered to be one of the most important indicators of a company’s success. The score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of Detractors (scores of 0-6 out of 10) from Promoters (scores of 9 and 10).

5. Conduct Usability Testing. Usability Testing is a useful way to see how a customer interacts with your product or website. You can hire companies to do this for you (expensive) or you can find acquaintances who can do it for a low price or even for free (not expensive). For a few hundred dollars, you can prevent pain points and roadblocks that can thwart hundreds of future customer service calls. Learn more about setting up effective usability testing here.