Running a business is hard. Running a small business is even more challenging. The key to sustaining a small business is growth. Instead of having customers that only use your service one time, you need to earn a return visit from them. You must provide an experience that a larger, more established company may not offer.
I love supporting small minority businesses and I’m a loyal customer. When I’m happy with a service or product, I just can’t keep it to myself – I refer people constantly. Check the key part of that sentence…
When I am happy with a service or product
If I am not happy, I will not return and I surely will not tell anyone to come see you. If you’re struggling to grow your clientele, there may be many reasons why. Here are a few…
1. Your Communication Sucks
When a potential customer makes initial contact, you should respond as soon as possible. Simple.
If you run an establishment that relies heavily on appointment setting, communicate any changes with a customer when they arise. If a customer has a 3 PM appointment and you won’t be ready until 3:45, let them know as soon as you realize it.
If you have a bad cell signal in your establishment, get a landline. Seriously, they don’t cost much and it’s a minimal investment for steady business growth.
You didn’t make them feel special. This is easy to do. Make conversation even if it’s small talk, give a genuine compliment. Simply asking someone how their day is going can lead to an engaging chat.
2. Your Environment Sucks
State of the art design is nice but not required. Some non-negotiables: pests, rodents, overflowing trash cans, poor lighting – you get my drift.
3. You Don’t Right Your Wrong
You’ve heard “Big girls don’t cry, they get even.”
Well, the same can be said for unhappy customers. If you displease a patron, the world will know about it! They’ll tell friends and family, write you a letter, post to your social media accounts AND put bad review on Yelp.
You won’t be able to please every customer every time. When you can’t though, try fixing it if possible. Respond to complaints!
4. You’re Not Convenient
Oh you’re not open on Saturdays?
Oh, you only take cash?
You don’t have a public restroom?
Not good, not good at all. Study your customer demographics and make adjustments that fit their needs accordingly.
5. False Advertisement
Just keep it real. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
What are your pet peeves as a customer? I want to know!