The recent global economic crises are forcing many large and small companies to lay off their employees or go out of business. Others still don’t know what to do about it. However, some large companies survive. And are doing quite well! Have you ever wondered why some businesses thrive despite their difficulties? The answer is simple: they have only one obsession: to serve their customers.
In 2011, the “Customer Choice Award” recognized Amazon.com as number one in customer service. Today, business leaders say they have ceased operations due to cash flow problems and a number of other factors. In reality, the customer service provided was not important enough to develop sales .
These few tips will allow you to double or even triple the sales of your business in these times of sluggish economy.
The customer must be at the heart of your business
Whether your business sells to professionals or individuals, you cannot survive long without customers. As they say so well, ”the customer is king”. Some of you say to yourself while reading this: ”I already know that”. But first, knowing is not enough, and a little booster shot never hurt! Few companies practice what would keep you productive, boost your business sales, and increase cash flow, especially during tough times: Consistently provide exceptional customer service.
In other words, serve your customers instead of selling them your products and services. Don’t focus on the sale. Focus on the customer’s needs and your ability to meet them. I’m not talking about your customer service habits though, like basic customer service. In this economic environment, if you want to increase your sales and compete with your competitors, you must provide exceptional customer service.
Three levels of customer service
The basic service. Customers have expectations. Basically, you have understood the expectations of the customers and you are meeting them. If customers are not satisfied, they will not hesitate to leave you. They will go see the competition quickly.
You should surpass yourself. In other words, give more than you should. It may seem like a paradox for the company to give more than it should. Just follow this timeless wisdom, ”give and you shall receive”. If you want your business to grow, you need to exceed your customers’ expectations. Giving doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money to make your customer happy. The quality of service is reflected in the little attentions: offering your customers a gift for their birthday, always welcoming with a smile, actively listening to their needs and patiently answering their questions.
So the main idea is to make your customers feel special to you. Treat them like special customers, because they are. It’s the best way to reach customers on an emotional level. Besides, business management is completely subject to emotions. Customers always justify themselves using logic. However, they all buy based on their emotions.
Exceptional service. This is where the magic happens. You should give your full attention to this point. You and all of your employees should be obsessed with delivering exceptional customer service. Every customer should walk away saying, “What wonderful service! “If you can produce that impression in your customer’s mind, price will never be an issue again. And you will significantly reduce your marketing budget . For what ? Because a satisfied and happy customer is the voice of your company.
Your customers, your company’s ambassadors
When you and your team amaze every customer with quality service, they will spread the word for you. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating…word of mouth is the best form of marketing. If you consistently deliver exceptional customer service, your customers will talk about you with their friends, neighbors and colleagues. They will remember you and will not hesitate to bring up your business name during their conversations.
A little practical exercise. Begin by sitting quietly with a pen and a sheet of paper. Ask yourself, “What can I do to improve my customer satisfaction? “ Focus only on their personal interests. Let your creativity flow. Then go and surprise your customers. As the saying goes: ” A satisfied customer is worth two! ”
Challenges of growing a business – and how to overcome them
Growing businesses face a range of challenges. As a business grows, different problems and opportunities require different solutions – what worked a year ago might not be the right approach now. Too often mistakes that could have been avoided turn a company with great potential into a loser.
Recognizing and overcoming common pitfalls associated with growth is essential if your business is to continue to grow and thrive. Essentially, you need to make sure that the steps you take today don’t themselves create additional problems for the future. Effective leadership will help you make the most of opportunities, creating sustainable growth for the future.
This guide sheds light on the particular mistakes and risks that commonly plague growing businesses and outlines what you can do about them.
follow the market
Market research is not something you do just once, when you start your business. Trading conditions are constantly changing; your market research must therefore also be continuous. Otherwise, you run the risk of making business decisions based on outdated information, which can lead to business failure.
The more successful you are, the more competitors notice – and react – to what you do. A market-leading offer one day might not be better than average a few months later. Seemingly loyal customers can quickly find other suppliers who offer a better deal.
As products (and services) age, sales growth and profit margins decline. Understanding where your products are in their life cycle can help you discover how to maximize overall profitability. At the same time, you need to invest in innovation to establish a flow of profitable products to market.
Source of information
The information published can provide useful insights into market conditions and trends. As a growing business, your own experience may be even more valuable.
You need to be able to build an in-depth picture of what customers want, how they behave, and what marketing approach works best.
Taking the time to talk to key customers pays off. Your suppliers and other business partners can be important sources of market information. You need to encourage your employees to share what they know about customers and the market. Effective IT systems can also facilitate the sharing and analysis of key information, such as customer buying behavior and preferences.
You might also want to do additional research, for example, to test customer reaction to a new product. You could do it yourself, or use a freelance researcher or market research agency.
The plan that worked for you a year ago may not work for you now. Market conditions are constantly changing; you should therefore revisit and update your business plan periodically. See the page in this guide on how to follow the market.
As your business grows, your strategy must evolve to match changing circumstances. For example, it’s likely that your focus will shift from getting new customers to building profitable relationships and maximizing growth with existing customers. Existing business relationships often have greater potential for profitability and can also provide reliable cash flow. New relationships may increase revenue, but profit margins may be lower, which may not be sustainable. See the page in this guide on cash flow and financial management.
On the other hand, every company must be attentive to new business opportunities. There are obvious risks in relying solely on existing customers. Diversifying your customer base disperses these risks.
Following the same business model, but on a larger scale, is not the only path to growth. There are other strategic choices, such as outsourcing or franchising that could offer better opportunities for growth.
It is important not to assume that your current success means that you will automatically be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Every major decision requires planning, just like starting a new business.
Be careful not to be too opportunistic; ask yourself if the new ideas match your strengths and your overall vision of where the business is going. Keep in mind that each new development brings its risks of change. It is worth periodically reviewing the risks you have faced and developing back-up plans.
Treasury and financial management
Good cash control is important for any business. For a growing business, this is crucial; monetary constraints can be the biggest limiting factor to growth, and excessive account activity can be fatal.
Making the best use of your finances should be a key part of business planning and evaluating new opportunities. With limited resources, you may have to pass up promising opportunities if pursuing them would drain your core business of critical funding.
Every element of working capital should be carefully monitored to maximize your available cash. Effective credit management and tight control of overdue debts are essential. You can also consider getting financing for business debts.
Good inventory control and efficient supplier management become increasingly important as the business grows. Outdated stock inventory could become a problem requiring periodic purges. You might want to work with suppliers to reduce delivery cycles, or choose suppliers and systems that can support just-in-time delivery.
Planning ahead helps you anticipate your financial needs and arrange appropriate financing. For many growing businesses, a key decision is whether to bring in outside investors to provide the equity capital needed to support further expansion.
New businesses often operate in perpetual crisis mode. Every day brings new challenges that need to be addressed urgently, and management spends most of its time solving problems.
As your business grows, this approach simply cannot work. Although a short-term crisis is always an emergency, it may not be as important as other things you might be doing. Spending time calming down an angry customer could help protect that relationship, but instead focusing on recruiting the right salesperson could lay the foundation for significant new sales for years to come.