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Wyoming Business Tips for Nov. 6-12

October 28, 2016

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Cindy Unger, WSBDC business adviser

“With the holiday season fast approaching, can you provide some information about customer service?” Christina, Casper

Strategic planning for the New Year also is looming in many organizations. Customer service, experiences and engagement are current considerations. Good customer service can change a customer’s entire perception of an organization.

Customer service is an important part of the entire customer experience. The customer experience consists of the customer’s perception of all interactions with an organization during the duration of the relationship. Other aspects of the customer experience include the product itself, the product packaging, the image portrayed by the physical store, any guarantees or warranties, return policies and customer support after the sale.

A company’s customer service and customer experience should be designed to engender customer engagement. How does one define customer engagement? A simple synonym would be “customer loyalty.”

If an individual has a positive experience with a business, the customer should become more engaged, exhibiting loyalty behaviors and attitudes. Loyal customers tend to represent no more than 20 percent of the customer base, but comprise more than 50 percent of sales.

Attracting new business is certainly important, but focusing on this 20 percent that are the best customers will reap continuing rewards. To maintain that engaged customer base, customer service is key.

Some simple customer service tips include:

-- Listen to customers, and suggest how to solve their problems. Help even if there is no immediate profit attached. Your customer will remember your assistance and return.

-- Answer your phone. Customers prefer to speak with a human, as opposed to a recording.

-- Don’t make promises unless you know you can keep them. Reliability is key to a good relationship.

-- Deal with complaints quickly and efficiently. View complaints as opportunities.

-- Train your staff to be knowledgeable about your products, helpful and courteous.

-- Put forth extra effort on behalf of your customers. They will remember the extra help in the future.

-- Throw in something extra with the sale. People love to get more than they thought they were getting. Add a coupon, additional information about how to use the product, a shopping bag, etc.

Remember, attitudes and behaviors are the primary components of loyal customer relationships. Good customer service results in a positive customer experience and creates engaged customer relationships. Engaged customers return again and again, and not only spend, but promote your business to others.

As your business becomes part of your customer’s lifestyle (think Starbucks), your profits will soar.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments are available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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