Don’t Let Your Customers Be Your Business’ Undoing

Even when they’re not standing right in front of you, they’re never far from your thoughts. They’re the reason you get up in the morning. The reason you do what you do. They’re your business’ life’s blood and without them it would all come crashing down around you. You love them and you hate them. You can’t get enough of them, and you can’t do enough for them. They are your customers. You deal with them every day each and every one has the capacity to either make or ruin your day. Now more than ever, customer service should be your highest priority.

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Of course, customer service is nothing new. For years and years, businesses have scratched their heads trying to find new and innovative ways of not only nurturing their relationships with the customers they have, but keeping a steady influx of new customers coming to your business. The digital age, however, presents businesses and entrepreneurs with a new and unique set of challenges. In an age where competition is rife, customers can afford to be fickle, and thus we need to take greater and greater steps to ensure that they keep coming to us rather than straying into the open arms of our competitors. The age of social media also makes us more accountable than ever to our customers. With a well placed and extremely public complaint on social media, our customers can leave a big black mark on our brand which can be difficult to wash off. Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can keep your customers happy and loyal and prevent them from being your business’ undoing.

Stand by your brand

Your brand is so much more than a flashy logo and a catchy slogan. It’s more than just a color scheme and an eye catching landing page. It’s a set of values, and it’s a promise that you make to each and every customer who walks through your door or scrolls through your homepage. Thus, it’s vitally important that you stand by your brand. It should be a banner which you rally your employees behind. The values and attitudes that make up your mission statement should be the guiding force behind every customer interaction and every front facing procedure, which brings us to…

Always be training

As passionate and invested in your business as you are, even you can’t be everywhere. Moreover, micromanaging your business can be extremely counterproductive. You need to ensure that each and every employee under your roof will handle a customer in the exact same way that you would. The surest way to achieve this is through regular training.

Training not only helps you to communicate and maintain the values upon which your brand is based, it also helps to keep your workforce energized and motivated. It prevents employees from resting on their laurels and keeps them striving for perfection.

Build value into every purchase

When starting out in business, many nascent entrepreneurs make the mistake of believing that they need to undercut their competitors on price in order to poach their customers. The trouble with this mentality is that while it may generate a brief influx of customers, it starts your business off on the back foot with low profit margins. When, inevitably, you need to up your prices again, there’s no guarantee that customers will remain loyal.

Rather than cutting down price, make efforts to build up value. Research has shown that customers are generally happy to pay more if they feel that they are getting exceptional value for their money. Therefore, make sure that every discount and freebie is clearly stated on your invoice. Make sure that customers are aware of any loyalty schemes you may operate, or make a point of how your superior quality of product justifies a higher price tag than that of your competitors while giving them value for money that your competitors can’t match.

Limit your liability

What happens if a customer slips and injures themselves in your store? What happens if one of your products ends up somehow injuring your customers? This could be a crippling blow to your reputation. While there are certainly ways in which you can mitigate the damage this causes, you’ll see from perusingh that insurance is one of the 5 key principles in making a business stronger. This means not only that you have Commercial General Liability insurance (also known as Public Liability insurance) but that you insure against liability issues through adhering to strictly defined quality control procedures and strictly maintained health and safety standards.

Handle complaints quickly and decisively

As much effort as we may put into each and every customer interaction, complaints are an unfortunate inevitability. We can either bury our heads in the sand and hope that they blow over or we can take the bull by the horns. The most important weapon in your arsenal here is an official complaints procedure which you and your employees must adhere to. This is vital in not only ensuring that complaints are dealt with effectively but that your workplace culture sees complaints as an opportunity to improve and not a threat. The longer you let a complaint go unanswered, the more potential damage it can do. Show your customers that you care by acting on their complaint quickly and decisively, working collaboratively with them to ensure that they get a mutually satisfactory outcome.

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Make it personal

Did you ever wonder why the baristas at Starbucks ask you your name before they prepare your coffee? Granted, there’s a practicality at work here; the barista needs to make sure that the right people get the right drink. It’s primary purpose, however, is that it’s an easy way to build value into the drink through the appearance of personalization. Just the act of writing your name on the cup helps to make it more than just a cup of coffee, it’s your cup of coffee!

How you which you can build opportunities for personalization and customization into your products and services will depend on the nature of your business. From building bespoke packages of products to suit the needs of individual customers to to using 3D printing techniques to allow customers to tailor your products to their exact specifications, the possibilities are practically limitless.

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