Last week, I experienced a “we messed up, but already got your money, so no apology” situation with a big company. That’s exactly how it felt from a customer standpoint of view; they did not care that my first purchase with them messed the mark. You’re probably thinking I am a small business, and “trust me; Tasha I place a lot of thought and care into my customers I would never not value them.” Well, I am going to be honest with you everyone misses the mark sometimes and you end up with miserable customers.
There is huge misconception that because you have an audience for your business that they will be loyal to your business and your business only. Truth be told it is very rare to find a customer who is ONLY loyal to your business in your specific niche. For example, I write a business content based blog, consultant business owners and curate paid products for them. However, I would be naive to believe that I am the only source of information for my audience. Especially since I know that I am not everyone’s cup of tea.
Snail Mail is coming back with vengeance or that’s what I would love to believe and so would the USPS. However, there is a small truth to it when you look at the growth of companies focused in this particular industry. More and more individuals are becoming nostalgic about the days of yesteryear. Calligraphy businesses are booming and paper based companies focused on letter pressing, thank you cards and more are launching. This is why snail mail is a great tool for your small business to use.
Communication is essential when running a small business. Your clients or customers need to reach you for a multitude of things and sorry but you need more than a contact form. It is great that you installed the plugin or the form came standard with your third-party shopping cart but those things break. Code gets messed up without you doing a thing. So now you have not only missed countless emails but created issues for people who use your services or shop your store.
If you want to create loyal brand ambassadors you are going to have to reward your best customers or clients. This is not playing favoritism but instead cultivating solid relationships that help to grow your business. I know first hand how cupcakes in a jar can make your customers swoon and be giddy to support you.
Customer service is a dying art in the high speed technology world. Business owners are depending on social media to handle business and sometimes that’s not enough, to be honest it’s a band aid for bigger issues. Replying to customers on social media is great; however when customers can’t reach you by phone or email to air their grievances firstly, than that is the bigger issue.
In my opinion, it should be a customer or clients last resort to be able to get a hold of you through social media alone. There should be accessible means in place for people to get a hold of you in a timely matter, in accordance with your business hours. Think about the lack of response from you being the first experience they have from your company, this bad experience will easily be aired out on twitter. It takes years to build trust and 140 characters to tarnish your name.
Getting the basics of customer service in order will help your business tremendously.
The key to obtaining and retaining customers is right where people spend their most time… their smart phone shopping some store or engaging on social media. Today I am going to address one of the biggest questions I get: how can I obtain more clients and customers? My first question is always, “how are you treating your current customers or clients?”
Statistics show that it is easier to retain your current shoppers than it is to obtain new ones. This is simply because you have built trust with your customer and that person has become loyal to your brand.
In the business world, people are always pushing the “new way” of doing things. Those people always advertise things like: How to obtain the best and brightest employees by using yada-yada strategy, how to get new customers loyal to your company, how to engage with your customers on social media and beyond, how the old marketing and selling strategies are losing, and much more. Trust me, I am all for innovation and advancement, however, sometimes these new methods do not build lasting relationships.
But wait, there’s more!
Let’s be honest, nobody likes bad customer service. The receiving end of horrible service from a business is probably one of the most uncomfortable experiences someone can go through. One thing I have noticed with the surge of “Instagram Boutiques” and people starting a business without researching is their lack of customer service skills. It really saddens me because I am a small business owner, and I know how someone’s first experience with a store can effect their view of me. But wait, there’s more!
I never thought, as a business owner, that I would have to play the bad guy. To be honest, I didn’t think running a business would be anything like it is. Movies and TV shows give a skewed version of the business world. It’s not an over night success: inventory gets messed up, fiscal backing is not free, and customers will drive you nuts (hey, I am being honest, imagine the emails I get).