New businesses in any niche experience what I call the startup right of passage. Their first goal is to allow their target audience to get to know them through reliability and good customer service.
While making substantial sales and gaining new users is important, making a good first impression in business is even more important. First impressions occur with every new customer you meet, so you can never let your guard down to get in their good graces. Customers view every positive experience with your business as a sign that you care about their business. But, how do you distinguish yourself from competitors' efforts to earn more business friendly points from customers?
Here are a few suggestions to help your startup grow by winning over the love and loyalty of users and customers.
Show genuine concern for every customer's questions and needs.
It's a good idea to subscribe to the two to one ratio. Listen to what customers want as opposed to selling or promoting things up front.
Shower them with extra business TLC.
Big competitive retailers often use this tactic and it works for small businesses too. Extra hellos or "can I help you" go a long way in cementing a business customer relationship.
Offer small incentives or giveaways. You don't need a buy one get one gimmick every time, but you could offer a small one time new customer discount, or time limited access to paid content or services if you operate online.
Stay in constant contact with your users and customers.
Out of sight out of mind can happen very quickly if they don't see or hear you. Users expect occasional updates about your business through emails, newsletters, blog posts, video updates, or in-store thank you's for being loyal. Brick and mortar businesses can perform on-site customer feedback and satisfaction surveys, but keep them short.
Respond to complaints and queries immediately.
Though customers can be wrong, always treat them with respect by making them feel like their support is held in the highest regard. This can be a starting point to diffuse potentially negative situations whether customers are right or wrong. This also keep them loyal to your business.
Things That Reflect Badly on a New Business
1. Blaming customers for their own complaints.
2. Not responding to questions in a timely fashion.
3. Not providing a user-friendly atmosphere or business experience.
4. Launching an untested or incomplete product or service. Nothing annoys customers more than being presented with something advertised as ready for market just to find out it falls short of complete.
Keep your small business services customer-friendly and reliable, it can be your make or beak factor.