Building customer loyalty in a small community can be difficult, especially with plenty of shopping options available online and in larger towns nearby.
Those factors make offering excellent customer service even more important for communities like Edna, said Chris Lundstrom, Jackson County Chamber of
The University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center will present a free workshop on Aug. 14 to help Jackson County businesses enhance
customer service. The Texas Friendly Customer Service workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Jackson County chamber office, 317 W. Main St. in
“In a small community, many businesses scramble to survive, especially when there are larger markets nearby,” said Lundstrom, who also is editor and
publisher of the Jackson County Herald-Tribune. “The person who greets and waits on the customer is the face of the business, whether it’s the owner or an
employee. If the customer doesn’t feel welcome or his problems are being ignored, he won’t come back to that business again.”
UHV SBDC Director Joe Humphreys said customer service is critical to small businesses.
“The service that employees of small businesses provide can make or break a business,” he said. “Sometimes business owners focus so much on other areas of
the business that service is an afterthought. That can be a costly mistake. This workshop will showcase how to treat customers so they will turn into
The workshop, which initially was developed by the Texas A&M Agricultural and Life Sciences Extension Service, will teach participants how to manage
and enhance the delivery of quality customer service. Six primary steps will be covered:
Making a good first impression
Knowing the job
Knowing the community
Handling problems effectively
Making a good last impression
Workshop participants also will receive tips on phone courtesy, working with difficult people, handling complaints, and business and cultural etiquette.
“While these are all important elements to operating a business, business leaders often have no formal training in how to handle complaints or difficult
customers,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. “In this era of social media, an upset customer can do a lot of
damage. Being prepared and teaching employees how to react in those situations can be crucial.”
The workshop will be led by UHV SBDC training coordinator Jean Smith. She has extensive experience in the fields of emergency management, emergency
telecommunications management and community volunteer emergency responder. Smith has earned a variety of instructor certifications, including one for Texas
Friendly Customer Service, and has worked for the SBDC since 2010.
The UHV SBDC offers assistance on starting, growing and financing a business; contracting opportunities; and recovering from disaster. Most of its services
are free to area small business owners in Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, DeWitt, Gonzales, Goliad, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties. It is
part of a nationwide small business assistance program serving the small business community, and federal, state and local governments.
The Jackson County Herald-Tribune is sponsoring the workshop and covering the registration fee, so there is no cost for participants. Refreshments will be
provided. The class size is limited to 20 participants, and pre-registration is required.
To register, call the chamber at 361-782-7146. For more information about the workshop, contact the UHV SBDC at 361-485-4485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.