Tuesday, September 24, 2013

5 quick and easy things to make any business better

When inundated with daily tasks of running a business, it’s easy to overlook some of the simpler ways to make a big impact with your customers. Here are my top 5 EASY ways to make your business better:

      1. Type, don’t handwrite
Whether you are a well-oiled entrepreneurial machine or a home-based cleaning service, typing your correspondence, ads, coupons, etc. is an absolute must. I saw an ad for a piano instructor posted on the neighbourhood mailboxes…written in marker. Despite what might have been stellar credentials, the lack of professionalism in the delivery of the information tainted the information itself. Save handwritten notes for personal correspondence like Christmas cards and thank you notes.

2. No typos!
Similar to point #1, credibility is lost immediately if there are typos on a webpage, email, advertisement, etc. Taking the time to review, re-review and then have someone else do the same is time well spent. Typos and errors speak volumes to potential customers, conveying a perceived level of professionalism, care for detail and pride of ownership – all qualities that contribute to the overall perception of a business.

           3. Respond in a timely BUT relevant fashion
Consumer behaviour research indicates that when customers are ready to make the leap to contact your business, it is the result of having a need or want they are looking to satisfy, usually accompanied by a sense of urgency. Don’t miss this opportunity to be the one to answer their call (or email!). While time is of the essence, do take some time to know what the potential customer is seeking. A prompt but irrelevant email reply is just as damaging to the relationship you are building as is a delayed response. I know a bride-to-be who emailed a wedding planning company with questions about specific services. What she received, while prompt, was an automated response showing that no one actually read her email. That business was quickly removed from her list of potential suppliers.

       4. Answer the phone like a pro
This one is pretty straight-forward but often easy to overlook. Remember that a customer contacting you is extremely valuable. Answer every call like it’s your next big client; be courteous, polite, speak clearly and be friendly. And oh yes, don’t sound like you were just awoken from a nap by their call! Yes, that actually did happen...again to the bride I know.

       5. Make sure your web links work
If you have a ‘contact us’ link, make sure it actually does what it says and allows the customer to get the information to contact you. Make sure your webpages load properly for various browsers and now, more than ever, devices just as iPads and smart phones. Because web pages are typically the first point of contact for potential customers, ensuring the links are functional is essential and will influence the opinion and perception of your business’s professionalism.

Summary: Don’t waste an opportunity to make a great impression. You don’t have to jump over the moon to serve; following these 5 easy tips will go a long way to creating a positive experience for potential customers and existing clients alike. A positive experience is the basis for building great customer relationships. Good luck!

Do you have any other easy but essential tips to share? Don’t be shy, please comment below! Our community is richer the more we learn from eachother.

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