Pop quiz alert: Who is a customer, huh? The answer, wait for it…everyone is a customer. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are all customers.
Increasingly, even animals are becoming customers. Have you noticed those pet commercials lately? I’m thinking, it really pays to be a pet nowadays. Wonder if they are taking applications.
Basic Business Logic
Even those who have customers are consumers for other goods and services. Our entire economic system revolves around and is powered by customers. Without them, every entrepreneurial endeavor is vain.
This is simple logic, really. Without someone to buy or use a product or service, the deal is not struck. The sale is not made. No enterprise happens.
You would think that everyone starting a new business would figure this out first. Not so.
The business strategy of ‘build it, and they will come’ is strictly for nostalgic Hollywood movies. It does not work in the stark reality of the business world.
As a business, your first and foremost priority is your customer base. It is the determining factor for whether your business succeeds or fails. Know how to develop and keep one? You’d better if you plan to survive.
Perhaps these following pointers and simple strategies can be of assistance toward improving your customer service.
The Core of a Business Transaction
A business advertisement is basically a value proposition. The business is making a promise to the consumer. It is saying if you buy my product or service, I guarantee your satisfaction.
Further, the company is telling the customer that if he is not pleased, the company will do everything in its power to correct the displeasure.
While this may not be stated outright, it is inferred by the business selling the product or service. The customer trusts the product or service offer enough to make the purchase. The transaction takes place.
Now, the company is duty-bound to fulfill every detail of its stated offer. This is what the buyer buys, the right to satisfaction.
This consumer trust must be honored. The seller must meet the promise or obligation it made when it marketed the product. That is a terse summary of the sell/buy transaction.
Getting Versus Retaining Customers
For many businesses, the efforts between getting and retaining the customer are out of kilter. If this does not get resolved quickly, that business is doomed.
It is one thing to sell to a consumer one time and quite another to sell that same customer repeatedly, and yet another to turn that consumer into a steady, reliable customer.
Did you know that steady, reliable customers are the key to building your business? Smart business owners recruit their current customer base to exponentially grow their business.
Monetizing your consumers is a solid business growth principle. You go beyond the money earned off their purchases and set up a system of rewards for customers who recruit other customers.
How This Process Starts
Of course, before you can recruit customers to spread the word about you and your product or service, you must first establish a good relationship.
You see, the product or service may lure in the buyers. How you manage that lured-in buyer determines if that buyer stays.
What do you suppose is the major influencing factor for whether the customer is a one-time buyer or a regular customer?
The Key to Customer Retention
Customers expect a certain level of attention and care when they respond and become buyers. Most would presume that product quality is the sole determining factor for buyers.
Actually, it goes much deeper than that. Yes, product quality does matter. Everyone is immediately disappointed to find out they have bought worthless junk. That can sink a company quicker than a New York blink.
Treatment after the sale often determines if customers remain. The purchase event is always an everyone-is-happy situation. The customer gets what he wants presumably, and the company earns income. Everyone is happy, happy.
The absolutely critical break point for the company occurs in the following days, weeks or even months after the happy sale event.
Keep the Customer Happy
It is incumbent upon the company to do what is necessary, within reason, to make sure the customer remains happy with his purchase decision.
What is the simplest, most effective tool you can use to discern and confirm happy customers?
That answer lies in just one word, communication. Customers rightly expect service. The saying, ‘we service what we sell’ is not just for vehicle dealerships.
If you are in the sales business, product or service, you had better be ready, willing and able to service that customer.
The quickest way to anger a customer immediately and permanently is to fail to meet your service obligation on what you have sold him.
Again, communication is the key to that service obligation. For smaller businesses with little to no office staff, this is usually where the trouble starts.
Customers who make multiple calls before speaking with the company representative are going to feel underappreciated.
Disappointment with how you handle their product or service questions is the first major flag against you and your product.
They quickly draw the conclusion that what they bought from you is no better than your service of that product.
If your business fits the smaller category mentioned above, the best way to handle customer communication is to hire a service.
Yes, an answering service, one of those simple, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that solutions. Let’s take a look at how something as simple and inexpensive can literally save your business.
Answering Service Advantages
Establishes Vital Communication Link
This service performs an absolutely critical business function. It establishes a line of communication, literally, for your customers.
Have you ever bought something and had questions about it or needed further information about how to get the most out of it? And what was your reaction when your calls and emails went unanswered?
So much anger and misunderstanding can be solved through immediate, early communication. Additionally, communication lets the customer know you are there for them.
As Barney Fife used to say, ‘you nip it in the bud’ when you hire an answering service. That anger over no communication never happens. Your company retains its initial good impression and standing with your customers.
Is It Expensive?
How expensive is a lost customer because they could not get in touch with you? The retention of just one customer you would have otherwise lost is worth far more than your service costs.
You get excellent value for the money you spend on this service. You get courteous, professional assistance at a very reasonable rate. Simply including it as one of the costs of doing business is the best way to view it.
This article will get unreasonably lengthy if I attempt to elaborate on all the other benefits such a service provides small businesses. The following partial list must suffice.
- Establishes Relationship-creates a buyer/seller bond through prompt communication and attention to customer needs and concerns
- Provides answers or at least an avenue for finding answers to questions
- Reassures the customer you stand behind your product/service
- Builds good faith and puts your business in a favorable light
- Establishes repeat customer cycle
- Builds business reputation
- Builds lead generation through regular customers
- Communication grows your business
Any small business without the staff to handle essential office functions can profit greatly by hiring this small business answering service.
They are reasonably priced, and the value they bring to your business efforts is incalculable. Visit or call Endicott and discuss the many advantages a small business answering service has in store for your business.