Properly managing your customer relationships will help your small business develop loyal customers. Use a simple CRM and sales tracking app like Base to help cultivate long term relationships.
Congratulations! You have opened your business or perhaps you have been in business for a while and your marketing efforts are bringing customers to you. But (and this is a big but!) are these same customers coming back for more? As a small business owner, no matter what your product or service the focus should always be on building relationships that will result in lifetime customers.
Your marketing efforts should be an invitation to your product or service, therefore it should not do the selling for you. For example if you are having a sale for 60% off, you have to keep in mind that some people will only be interested in what you have to offer because of the word ‘sale’. When they actually come to you for services it is important to give them reasons to want to come back. Additionally, when they leave there must be follow up in place that keeps your business connected to your customer. If you are not experiencing loyalty from your customers here are some reasons why:
1. You’re not listening to their feedback
In order to keep customers happy you must listen to their needs and wants. By taking the time to truly assess your customers desires and provide them with the things they need or want, you are showing that you care. Caring builds trust and rapport and implementing changes or improvements from customer feedback gives them a reason to return to your business.
There are three very easy and effective ways to get feedback from your customers:
- Listen to what they have to say
- Ask them how you are doing
- Monitor what is being said about you via social media networks and review sites like Yelp and Google Places.
Stay “in the know” pertaining to your customers needs and provide them with viable solutions that will keep their business with you.
2. You’re not efficient at resolving issues that may arise
When there is a problem you should listen to your customer and quickly provide the best solution(s). The key to handling problems is to not get defensive and to act fast. Do not let a small issue turn into an even bigger problem.
If you handle a customer complaint or issue with grace, most will be satisfied. Customers that are satisfied will return and unsatisfied will not return and they will share their ‘bad experience’ with everyone that will listen.
3. You’re not connecting with your customer
Having a small business is about building and maintaining relationships. It is important to keep in mind that you are actually in a relationship with your customers. All great relationships involve effective and consistent communication. Connecting with customers when not in the throws of a deal is very important. Stay in front of your customers often. Inform them about upgrades or new offerings. Offer clients discounts, invite them to events pertaining to your product/services, send birthday and thank you cards, connect with your customers via social media platforms, and by way of your company blog. No communication or poor communication after the first sale leads to no future sales. Always look for ways to build upon your current customer relationships and remember to implement systems to maintain them.
4. You have not added value
Unless you run your business in a very small town without internet, you probably are not the only game in town. Adding value to your product or service keeps customers loyal. Additionally, when you add value you can squash any questions or objections about your prices when you show value.
What added value are you providing to your customers? If your answer is none don’t expect to see them again.
5. You have not simplified your customers life
Your product or services must provide convenience for your customer and make their life or work easier. All procedures and processes should be designed to deliver ease and effectively accommodate the the customer. If a problem arises make sure that you have systems in place that will not only solve the problem but will also keep life simple for your customer.
6. You have not made the customer say ‘WOW!’
One of the beautiful things about having a small business is the ability to tailor or customize your customer service to individual clients. Big businesses often cannot effectively do this. Take advantage of this opportunity and find ways to make your customers say, ‘WOW!’. The customers that you WOW will not only return for life, but they will also refer your business to their family, friends, and social circle.
Loyal customers purchase regularly, refer more people to do business with you, and they will not go to the competition –ever! If you are not experiencing repeat customers adjust the way that you are connecting with and interacting with them. Loyal customers will increase your bottom line and decrease or eliminate advertising expenses.