Question: What’s the difference between a profitable small business and an expensive hobby?
Answer: Your customers.
The people who buy your goods and services, allowing you to pay your bills and make a tidy little profit on the side … they matter. Without them, your business doesn’t exist — so what are you doing to maintain and even improve your relationship with them?
Whether you’ve been actively neglecting your faithful flock or just want to do a bit better by them, we’ve got the tips to help you take your customer relationships to the next level!
A generic “Hi, how are you?” when someone calls your business or walks through your doors is OK. But you should aim for something more than OK. You need to make an effort to get to know your customers from the very first interaction. Who are they? What did they purchase from you last time? What are they looking for today?
So instead of “Hi, how are you?” you’re saying “Welcome back, Mr. Thompson! How did X work out for you? We just got a new shipment of Y in that I’d love to show you.” That makes people feel like more than just another customer.
When you make an effort to remember names and details, you’re already a leg up on your impersonal competition!
Solicit (And Act On) Customer Feedback
Feedback helps you better understand what your customers like and don’t like about your business, but it can be hard to get them to spill the beans. While many people are happy to complain about a bad experience, they typically won’t say much about a good experience — unless you ask.
Consider sending a short survey soon after every purchase. Don’t make it long, but do make it specific. Ask pointed questions regarding what you did well and what you can do better, and invite them to offer any additional information which might help improve their next experience.
But that’s only half the job.
Once you have your customers’ responses in hand, you need to act on them. Follow up with a sincere thank-you note for good feedback and let the customers who haven’t had the best experience know what you’re doing to address their issues. In both cases, offer some sort of incentive to reward them for their feedback — a discount on a future purchase, free shipping on their next order or a small token of your appreciation.
If you’ve ever called a company with a question only to get the runaround, you know exactly how frustrating it can be to get shuffled from department to department only to get no real answers.
Don’t be that business.
Be accessible to your customers. No, you don’t have to give them your personal cell phone number with instructions to call anytime, but you do need to make a reasonable effort to deal with queries when they come up, not sometime between tomorrow and next Tuesday.
When it comes to social media, chatbots can be your new best friend, allowing you to communicate with your customers even when you aren’t around. They can even help you earn a flashy “Very Responsive to Messages” badge on your Facebook page.
Building and maintaining good customer relationships isn’t always easy, but it’s 100 percent worth it. When you nurture the professional bonds between your small business and your clientele, you create loyal customers who will sing your praises — and more importantly, bring friends and family into your fold.
At Mischa Communications, we know small businesses because we are one. And we want to share our knowledge with you. Contact us today — it could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!