The world of business is growing increasingly competitive each day. With over 1.8 billion websites out there in cyberspace and a host of new businesses popping up everywhere we look, it becomes increasingly more important to set yourself apart from the competition in order to achieve business success. How can you become the business that customers search for?
Simple--Get them to fall in love with you and your business.
Anyone who has been in business or has started a business within the last ten years is going to tell you how important it is to make all transactions “customer-centric.” In other words, being able to provide a top-notch customer satisfaction experience that communicates just how important their business is to you. Studies have shown that it is more expensive to gain a new client base than it is to retain your existing customers; for every client lost to a competitor, companies lose an average of $300 per customer. Obtaining a new customer might take six to seven times more than that when you factor in the cost of advertising. Focusing on client relationships and letting them know just how important they are, not only to your business, but to you, will set the foundation for long and healthy client relationships. Here are some simple and efficient ways to ensure that your customers will fall in love with you, your products, and your business:
1. Realize how valuable word of mouth advertising is, and use it to your advantage. Word of mouth advertising can make or break your business. When customers are happy with your products and services, they tell others about their experience and encourage them to seek you out. Similarly, if they are unhappy with what you have to offer, or if they feel that a business transaction has gone sour, they will shout it from the rooftops, doing damage to any future business potential to all who hear their tales of woe. Treat each business transaction with utmost integrity, offering follow up, communication, and the opportunity to ask questions and receive assistance after purchases have been completed. Going the extra mile will inspire your customers to tell others just how fabulous you are, and you’ll find yourself widening your circle of influence almost effortlessly.
2. Start before they are customers. Know who your ideal customers are--you’ll need to establish clear customer profiles that establish demographics, desires, fears, and needs of the people you wish to reach. By knowing this information about your potential customers ahead of time, you’ll have the opportunity to sculpt your brand and shape your product offerings in a way that will make them irresistible.
Another benefit to gathering data on potential clients is that you have the opportunity to filter out people that might be considered “problem clients.” This will reduce the number of customer complaints you will have to deal with, and it will increase overall customer satisfaction. Getting deep into the mind and motivations of your potential customers will help you understand what is driving them to seek you out, and it will provide you with details on how you can use this information to confidently turn a tire kicker into a loyal customer.
3. Find out what customers expect, and then deliver!
The most common complaint that a business owner hears is that customer expectations have not been met. Whether it be due to a miscommunication between you and your client, an error in processing, or dissatisfaction with a product or service, the fact of the matter is, the ball was dropped.
The easiest way to reduce the occurrence of unsatisfying transactions is to find out what customers expect ahead of time, and then deliver. Begin by asking open-ended questions in your initial communication like:
How is my product or service going to benefit you?
What results do you expect from forming a business relationship with me?
What is an acceptable time frame for satisfactory service?
How much do you expect to pay for a product or service like mine?
Being as upfront and honest as possible as you begin a customer relationship will help to reduce the number of dissatisfied clients, as your business is all out in the open. Make sure that you can deliver what you promise, or at least that you can correct mistakes along the way in a timely manner. Treat each business interaction with utmost integrity and honesty, and you’ll grow your customer base exponentially.
4. Be authentic in all of your interactions.
Customers are more discriminating now than ever before. There are a vast array of competitors, product offerings, and easier ways to search and find exactly what they are looking for. Customers can smell insincerity a mile away, and their search is just as much about finding someone that they feel comfortable doing business with as finding the right product and service to fit their needs. Being authentic in your interactions with people will inspire trust, and this trust is the basis of customer loyalty. Treat your customers exactly as you would want to be treated, seeing them as real people with real needs; your role is to help them enhance the quality of their lives through the use of your products and services.
Successful business owners realize that customers and valued customer relationships are the lifeblood of a business. Keeping them happy and fulfilled will not only strengthen your current client base, but it will potentially open the doors to many more customer relationships via the praiseworthy words of those you’ve satisfied. Keep it real, keep it quality, keep it moving forward; you’re building something great, one valued customer relationship at a time!