Starting off as a small business does not mean you will always remain one. As you market your products and services there will be an increase in your customer base. An increase in the number of customers should also mean you increase in service delivery. How ready is your business to handle increasing questions or even complaints?
Remember, your customers will judge you based on their present experience – this means one bad experience a customer has can snowball to giving your business a bad reputation. Research has shown that 91% of unhappy customers will not do business with a company where they had an unpleasant experience.
As a growing small business, creating positive customer experience should be your number one priority. A positive experience is what keeps customers loyal and happy and you smiling to the bank. As a small business you have the leverage to achieve this competitive advantage. Take advantage of these 5 tips, to ensure you maintain quality customer experience with your clients:
1. Be the customer
As a business owner, you should be a model for your perfect customer – if then you are the model customer, how will you want to be served, what kind of service delivery will you expect and what kind of service failure will make you unhappy. Think from the customers’ perspective and make changes accordingly.
2. Welcome feedback
We are always happy to receive positive feedback from our customers as it is an indication that we are getting things right. In the same light, you should also welcome negative feedback as it will open your eyes to the blind spots in your business. Create effective feedback channels through which customers can share their experiences be it positive or negative.
3. Be customer-led
Don’t focus only on increasing sales and making money – let the services be customer-led. The products should address the customers’ needs. Your sales people should advise customers based on their identified needs as this will build trust between the customer and the business. Being customer-led means you have the interest of the customer at the heart of the business and if your products don’t address their present needs you can advise them on alternative options.
4. Continuous innovation
According to Peter Drucker “Innovate or die” this applies to both big and small companies. Create new products or invent new ways of serving your customers. Are your products still relevant in this age or has technology created a better product? What impact will this new technology have on the business in the long run? As a small business owner, think forward and go with the trends of time because the speed of change is fast, so also our adaptability as business owners should be faster. Be flexible in your products and services and constantly innovate or risk extinction.
5. Go the extra-mile, spend an extra minute
It is the little things we do daily that make us great – in business, the extra steps we take to keep our customers happy make them advocates. Sometimes going the extra-mile means going out of our primary duties. Going the extra mile shows the customers that your business is not just after making sales but your business is after building lasting relationships. Don’t be in a hurry to get the job done. Spend an extra minute or two with your client to ensure that they are fully satisfied.
Customers want to feel special and when you give them special attention, it creates a positive experience for them and this will increase the word-of-mouth advertising which is the fastest and cheapest form of advertising. In the same light, when customers feel rushed they will leave your business with a negative perception and may never return.
Onyebuchi Iduoze is the CEO of Innovar Knowledge Solutions. Her passion is offering bespoke training solutions and business advisory services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is a certified Human Resource Business Professional and she enjoys writing and blogging.