Becoming renowned for great customer service is challenging enough, but especially so during a pandemic. People are still trying to figure out how to get back to business as usual, but then when we see a spike in cases, it can be confusing trying to navigate the best way to go about our daily lives. That includes how and with whom we do business.

Some East Texas businesses are doing well, having put certain safety measures and technologies in place to continue to do the best job possible serving their customers. Others have had more of a struggle. While we all want to do the very best to support our local businesses, there's no denying that keeping one's business head over the red line is more challenging than before. One crucial part of accomplishing that? Incredible customer service--particularly in ways that are helpful in a time like this one.

Mark Lusky is a marketing communications expert. He's been keeping his finger on the pulse during this crisis and having spoken with other experts and heads of businesses who are managing to do well in these circumstances, has curated some advice that any business owner or manager may find helpful. Some of what he/they recommend? 

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"Scripted" Lip Service Ain't Enough. No one wants to call to address an issue with a business, only to be greeted by a robotic response of "well, that's our policy, but here's a free appetizer next time you come in, etc." Your customer's stress levels are pretty high right now. When something goes wrong, they want to interact with a human in a human way. That's one of the reasons they are doing business with a local company. Instead, Lusky recommends "candidly and completely" dealing with the issues in a tangible way.

Proactive Outreach. One of the advantages a small business has over the giants is the opportunity to have more personal connection with your East Texas clients and customers. Joyfully reach out and let them know you cherish their business and see how you may be able to specifically help them. Make them feel honored. Customers are the lifeblood of any business.

Make Customer Service Your TOP Priority. No Like--REALLY. It's something that's touted at almost every business. "We have great customer service." But as you and I both know, words only go so far. Create such a stellar customer experience, you don't have to tell them how great your customer service is--they'll tell others for you.

Make It Easy For Customers To Share Their Feedback With You. There have been many times I've tried to give feedback to a company, only to feel it was lost in the void somewhere. Make your customers feel heard and seen.

This pandemic has put us all in a position of difficulty, and that includes small business owners and managers. But, with every challenge comes a learning opportunity. Lusky suggests thinking of this as an opportunity to remember that customer service is always crucial. Mastering the art of caring for your clients and customers will only help your business thrive--in times both good and bad.

READ MORE: See how some companies are changing their businesses to combat COVID-19

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