Starting and operating a small business requires a tremendous amount of attention to detail. As a business owner, you are responsible for a multitude of different aspects of your business. While each element is important, one element that you simply cannot afford to ignore is customer service. Poor customer service can quickly put your business out of business. Yet, surprisingly, many small businesses frequently make some of the biggest customer service mistakes. Is your business guilty of one of these?

Perhaps the biggest and most common customer service mistake is simply refusing to apologize. There can be many reasons for this, but many business owners are often simply afraid to apologize and admit when they are wrong. Unfortunately, refusing to say you’re sorry can result in a loss of business.

In some cases, businesses will apologize but do so in a way that seems apparent that they do not really regret the mistake. Insincerity can be just as damaging to your business as refusing to apologize in the first place.

With so many options available today and the ability to research a company with just a click, consumers have high expectations. If you are late or you are insensitive regarding the value of your customer’s time or any other expectation of your client can result in a losing business to your competitor.

Remember the golden rule? Treat others as you would like to be treated? If you expect your employees to treat your customers like gold, you need to begin that practice at home by treating your employees well. It’s not enough to simply put your customers first; you need to put your employees first, as well.

Are you making the mistake of punishing all of your customers because of the mistake of one? It’s more common than you might think. Just because one customer bounced a check, do not make all of your customers pay by refusing to accept checks from anyone. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the entire crop.

What is your company’s voice? If you do not know, it’s time to find out. In today’s media laden society and world of business, voice is now more important than ever. It’s not always what you say but how you say it. Pay attention to the voice your business communications use and strive for a cohesive message.

First impressions are always critical when it comes to customer service. Regardless of how great your product or service may be, if you fail at making a great first impression, this is likely all that your customer will remember. Keep in mind that customers begin picking up cues before you ever meet in person. This is particularly true today. From the moment a customer arrives at your website or drives by your establishment, they should pick up on the fact that you are committed to delivering superior customer service.

Remember that not all of your products and services are a one-size-fits-all solution. Take the time to get to know your customers and truly listen to their needs so that you will be able to find a solution that truly fits their needs.

Finally, do not make the mistake of believing that just any employee can provide stellar customer service. Not everyone is a people person. Not only should the employees you hire be committed to providing excellent customer service, but you must make sure you empower them to do so. Do not be afraid to give your employees the power to find solutions and think outside of the box in order to provide the best service possible.