What is the most important part of your business? Entrepreneurs have a lot of answers for this question. Initially it might be a gut response such as products or management of your team. It can be something simple that you automatically relate to your company when asked the question. But when an entrepreneur thinks on the question the answer seems to always call back to the one thing that makes their business a business – customers. Without customers there is no business. There’s no title of entrepreneurs or business owners. There’s no reason to create a stylish or innovative product when there’s nobody to buy it. A business without customers is simply a creative endeavor for your own benefit. With the new year now in full swing the importance of customers is in the spotlight again. Customers have the upper hand in the sense that they get to pick and choose where to shop. If your business is the one to get chosen, making sure that customer is happy becomes immensely important. Keeping a customer happy and making them a repeat customer is what all business owners and companies strive for.
Some businesses only stay afloat if their customers are happy. One of the biggest events in a person’s life, getting married, must be handled carefully by a company. Magda Walczak of Brideside puts a unique focus on keeping brides happy during a stressful time. “Planning a wedding is stressful enough so we do what we can to take out the stress from finding the right bridesmaid dresses. It's of paramount importance that we keep our customers happy because we're working with them on one of the most important days in their life – their wedding. We keep them happy by giving them the tools they need, which in our case is lots of content around wedding inspiration and helpful videos on dress fit. We also communicate with brides and bridesmaids on the phone and email to guide them through their selection process and make sure they are 100% satisfied with their selection.”
Another good practice to keep customers happy with your business is to make sure everything is clear and out on the table. No customer likes to have the wool pulled over their eyes, so keeping things transparent is a great move. Melissa Burkheimer likes to keep everything clear, “I plan to keep my customers happy in 2014 by creating super clear guidelines that outline what they can expect when they work with me. By being transparent who my ideal client is, my potential customers will know right away if we are a good match based on the vibe of the copy on my web site. Once my potential customers determine that we're a good fit, then they can check out the nitty gritty details on what happens, step-by-step after they hand over their hard earned cash. This saves hard feelings that may arise. Another thing I've always done is offered the invitation for questions while I work with clients. If any of my clients have a question, they're invited to ask it 24/7 and they know they can expect an honest answer. I want to provide value and help people realize that marketing their business can be easy. Before I started my business I had 13 years’ experience in customer service in various jobs, so I know that an excellent customer experience is key for successful and long-lasting relationships.”
One of the most important ways to keep a customer happy is by simply keeping communication open. Bruce Specter makes sure to do so, “The #1 thing that I do and will continue to do is communicate. It is not surprising the #1 irritant of consumers as to why they no longer patronize a business or business professional is the simple lack of communication. I cannot count the amount of business I have won simply by returning a phone call. This holds true for staying contact with my past customers, made easier today through automated ‘touch' systems (we use BNTouch). I also call on a regular basis, especially around personal events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) as well as send hand written Thank You cards after every call or a referral. I consider these the stalwarts of ‘social media'! This also holds true for delivering timely news, good or bad. I have internal and external customers. I also consider my business partners/referral sources as customers, as well. When I ask potential customers/referral sources what the one thing that they wish to improve in their current vendor relationship, it is, to a person, communication.”
No matter which method you use for keeping your customers happy, the main goal at the end of the day is making sure your customers know their patronage is important to your business. Making personal connections is important in the long run.