Running a small business is tough. Only 25% of small businesses make it to 15 years or more, and regulatory, tax, or market changes that a big company can absorb easily can sink a smaller one much faster. What can you do to make sure your small business is one of the success stories?
1. Nail Your Marketing Efforts
Too many businesses rely on random foot traffic or haphazard, shotgun marketing to get their message out there. By honing your marketing strategy to find and reach your ideal customer, you’ll give yourself a leg up on the competition.
Identify Your Opportunities
Where can marketing make the greatest impact on your business? If you have a limited budget for marketing, it’s better to launch a strong, targeted campaign that will be effective than do a dozen little things that don’t really work.
Understand Your Ideal Customer
The more specific you can get about who you want to reach, the better. Consider your ideal customer, and consider giving them a name: you might even create a drawing! This will focus your thoughts and give you a target whenever you’re planning a campaign.
Take Advantage of Tech
Ringless voicemail providers allow you a discreet way to drop voicemail messages into the boxes of potential customers without having to call them. With this tech, you can customize messages so they are targeted effectively but without forcing you to invest in hiring extra customer service reps.
2. Improve Your Customer Service
Customer service is the key to survival for any business, yet too many businesses don’t implement the best practices that earn (and keep) customer loyalty.
Train Your Staff
You probably already know it’s important to be friendly, show respect, and express gratitude to your customers. But what about your staff? It’s not their business, and they have less incentive to provide great customer experience. Make sure you’re training your staff, keeping an eye on performance in this area, and rewarding solid effort.
People are connected at all times and expect those they do business with to be connected, too. A telecommunications call center offers you a way to integrate all channels of communication and offer great customer service whenever anyone reaches out, whether there’s someone in your office at the moment or not.
Consumers prefer to show brands and companies they view as trustworthy, yet trust takes time and effort to build. Start by making sure everything, from your logo to your website to your employee uniforms, conveys professionalism. Then always keep your promises, even if you occasionally take a hit for it. In the end, it’s worth it.
3. Listen to Feedback
Feedback lets you know what you’re doing right and alerts you where something might be wrong. Take time regularly to evaluate your feedback from two crucial sources: Customer feedback and employee feedback.
Feedback from Customers
Offer ways for your customers to tell you about their experience, and make it worth their time to provide feedback. No one wants to spend 10 minutes filling out a survey for “nothing.” When you change something in response to what customers are asking for, let them know.
Feedback from employees
Your own employees are a great resource for feedback. They know the business better than anyone but you, and in some cases, they might be able to alert you to small problems before they grow into business-destroying issues. Some employees will be reluctant to tell you what they really think, worrying that it could get them in trouble. Try using a third-party survey system that keeps everything anonymous, and don’t take the survey so complicated to fill out that’s it’s constantly an unwelcome chore.