Updated: Sep 22, 2019
Customers are the lifeblood of any small business.
“Of course, every owner knows that!” you say.
Don’t be so certain. My consulting experience reveals a significant percentage of small businesses treat the customer as if they were a bother or a pain in the ass. Their motto is “Business would be awesome if it weren’t for the customer.”
A business with this culture is easily spotted by their sloppy facilities, poor quality of products or services, listless employees, poor customer service and an “I don’t care” attitude. No business intends to have this kind of culture, but it slowly creeps in.
With stiff competition and other options readily available most customers will go away without saying a word to you. But be assured they will tell someone, most likely, a lot of someones.
To be viable long term, every small business owner must remember that satisfied and engaged customers are the key to their future. Here are three reasons why.
1. Customers Supply the Revenue.
Without customers spending money on your products and services you have no business.
2. Customers are Ambassadors.
Customers talk! Satisfied customers will do more for your business than any expensive market strategy, and with a single negative review, an unsatisfied customer has the potential to neuter one. Remember; caring properly for existing customers is much less expensive than gaining new ones.
3. Customers are a source of Feedback.
It’s not important that you think your business is great, it is important the customer thinks so! I’m often asked by owners, “How do we know if we are doing a good job?” Ask the customer! Ask them if the store layout or website is easy to navigate? Ask them if the front-line employees are friendly and knowledgeable. They will tell you.
Customers can give you valuable insight into what is working and what needs to be improved. They can give input about a new product or service before it’s launched. Sure, it’s difficult to hear unpleasant things about your business, but if you are going to improve, you must get their insight.
Creating a culture that focuses on customers begins with the owner and flows to the employees. Take a moment to examine the customer culture in your business. Unsure how to do it? Ask your customers.