Building a business is hard work. You invest blood, sweat and tears (not to mention truckloads of cash and every waking moment of your life) to get your business started. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you may be nurturing a dream of your business getting big, becoming successful and then you sell it and retire to somewhere warm. But for now.. you put your head down and keep paddling as hard as you can upstream.
As you build your business, remember that the results of poor customer service can destroy any business, big or small.
You get your first customer… and your second… then your third. Oh, you’re rolling now. Ten, twenty… hey, this is fun AND profitable!
In the beginning, you treated each and every customer like gold. Your customer service was beyond extraordinary because you treated those first customers better than you treat your spouse on your anniversary! Then you got busy… busy finding new customers… busy running your business… busy, busy, busy.
But wait… that second customer is calling. Seems he’s not getting email from his website. Why? Well, because he never set up his email client to grab messages from the server. Of course, he has no idea how to do that and that’s why he’s calling you.
Oops.. the phone is ringing again. This time it’s a more recent customer who isn’t able to see her website. After 30 minutes of trying to determine what the problem is, you ask her to go to Google’s homepage. It’s only then that you realize she isn’t connected to the internet. She checks and sure enough, her DSL isn’t working.
Ah the joys of entrepreneurial growing pains. Yarak Starak writes in his post :Growing Pains: How To Manage Customer Service As A One Person Enterprise:
For a small business with a limited marketing budget, good customer service resulting in an above average reputation in the market, can result in acquiring new customers through existing client referrals – a “free” form of marketing.
During the start-up phase you have limited funds and one of the best strategies to survive this period of business growth is to use your existing clients as a marketing tool to bring in new clients (actually – this is a good strategy at any stage of business growth).
The cornerstone of achieving that outcome is good customer service, since your existing clients will not be willing to help you, nor will they feel compelled to talk about you and refer you to others, if they are not significantly impressed by – and benefit from – their interaction with your business.
The results of poor customer service is of course that your customers won’t be willing to help you grow your business by telling others OR by returning themselves.
Advertising and marketing alone can not build a business. If you must pay for advertising to bring in each and every customer, then your business will not survive… PERIOD! Advertising helps bring NEW customers into your business. Exceptional product PLUS exceptional customer service means not only that those NEW customers will return, but it also means they’re refer their friends and family. If every new customer your advertising brings in then goes on to bring in 3 more customers… THAT is the key to advertising success!