Building your customer base is one of your most important tasks as an entrepreneur.
After all, your high-quality products only earn you a profit if you have a reliable market to purchase them. Take these steps to make sure you never miss a lead.
1. Station Someone at Your Phone Constantly
In the middle of all your duties, a ringing phone is sometimes annoying. However, every phone call represents the opportunity to connect with a potential customer. To avoid missing a customer’s call and business, keep someone near your phone at all times. If that’s not realistic, invest in an answering service. This is an outside company that agrees to act as your remote receptionist.
An answering service such as VoiceNation completes the following jobs:
- Answering phones
- Providing information about your company
- Taking messages
- Managing calls through mobile apps
All of these tasks are completed by a real person with your company in mind, so you don’t have to worry about customers being frightened away by robocalls.
Another benefit of an answering service is that it allows you to only give your attention to calls that matter. You don’t have to deal with spam calls or misdials, and your answering service directs calls to the proper extension for you. For example, when your service receives a complaint about a product, that call goes to customer service, not you. That way, when it’s time for you to speak with an important client or a vendor, you have plenty of energy and attention for the call.
2. Prioritize Customer Service
Few things make customers less likely to come back to your store than when they feel disrespected. To ensure that the people who enter your store buy products, tell their friends about your business, and come back, welcome every customer. No matter how long your day has been, treat each person with respect and help with whatever problems he or she has. You don’t have to put up with disrespectful treatment, but you should make an honest effort to assist all your customers.
One area of customer service that’s often overlooked is diversity awareness. If visitors feel that they are treated unfairly because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status, they do not come back. Frequently, experiences like these lead to negative reviews online and, if your treatment of someone counts as discrimination, lawsuits. Avoid the following behaviors to reduce the chances of creating a hostile environment:
- Making jokes based on race or sex
- Asking questions about someone’s appearance
- Staring at something that’s crucial to a customer’s identity
- Assuming things about people based on their looks
It’s not enough to refrain from these actions yourself; as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your employees and customers do the same. Hold regular diversity training for your whole staff, and hang up signs reminding people to respect each other. Remember, many laws govern discrimination in the workplace, so keep your treatment of other people ethical and legal.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Competition
While many parts of your company are unique, such as your background and mission statement, you’re not the only member of your industry. Stay aware of your competition’s movements so you don’t miss an opportunity to connect with more clients. Monitor the following aspects of your rivals:
- Promotions and sales
- Projected profits
- New products
- Plans for expansions
Keeping track of this information takes a lot of energy, but hiring an economist or accountant to analyze your competition simplifies the job. Success in your industry is a long-term game, so don’t get frustrated if your rivals always seem to be doing better than you.
Once you know what your competitors are up to, alter your strategy to draw customers to your store instead. For example, if your opponent is offering a buy one, get one 50% off deal, make your company more appealing by starting a buy one, get one free promotion. Make sure that your sales don’t exceed your means, though.
Every good entrepreneur knows that the secret to success lies in how you treat your customers. By keeping these three tips in mind, you create a customer-centered business with a promising future.