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#1 SECRET TO SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS

“If you build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful”.

By Amazon founder & CEO, Jeff Bezos

How do you exceed a customer’s expectation so they become a strong advocate for your business? Every business owner wants to create a memorable service experience, so how do you create that special feeling that compels a customer to promote you? This article will provide from my experience #1 secret to small business success so your customers love you. Most of my life has been involved in honing this skill and over the next two weeks I will share my 5 tips to keep your customers loving, trusting, returning, buying, and raving about you. Today, let me share my #1 key to small business success I learnt during my former life as a Client Relationship Manager, managing multi-million dollar corporate accounts. In this role, I liaised between my employer and my customer, aiming to keep the two customers happy at the same time often with different priorities. For over 10 years in this role I honed this skill through trial and error. It is very simple and is all about communication. Manage your customer’s expectations at every customer touch point. At every step of delivering your product and service to customers, ensure they know the bare minimum of what is happening or going to happen. It is difficult to delight and surprise customers when the basics aren’t dealt with. We can consider managing customers expectations much like comparing a bad boyfriend to a great one. One doesn’t call when he say’s he will, cancels dates without warning, doesn’t remember the little things. The other one follows through on his promises, surprises you with flowers at a dinner date. No brainer really who is a keeper!

Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving this ‘perfect date’:

    1. 1. Make a list considering each touch-point that your business has with your customer.
    1. 2. Create a list of unexpected service extras for your customers that can be utilized at different parts of the service cycle.
    1. 3. Create communications to outline the relevant what, how, when & cost of each of these touch-points.
    1. 4. If miscommunications or difficulties arise, always, always pick up the phone. It’s an easy option is to send an email however you miss an opportunity to build a relationship. Email is a very limited method of communication when you need to listen and resolve. A problem can be generally be resolved in one conversation, it takes way longer over email.
    1. 5. Engage your customers to ensure what you are promising is matching their expectations. Rectify if required. Gain approval, then follow through.
    1. 6. Once the service is completed, summarize the what, how, when of the service you delivered, as promised.

Every business will have different ways of implementing these steps. Create clear and simple communications, signs, brochures, flyers, documents, timelines or emails that outline the processes and stages the customer will experience. If you are regularly communicating stages and processes to customers it allows them a chance to raise any concerns or confusions along the way, before it becomes a huge problem or snowballs.

To keep it simple, think of how you plan out a speech: 

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them
  • Tell them what you said you were going to tell them
  • Tell them what you told them

My #1 secret to small business success is simple and ensures you have customers that are confident and trust you. Over my years in customer relations this tip has been the key in retaining clients, keeping them happy and having them refer me to other clients.