How Can Small Businesses Improve Communication with their Customers?
September 26, 2012
in How-To, Small Business Tips
We are always looking for ways to improve our relationship with our customers. We believe that effective communication is the key to successful partnerships. For years we have been committed to delivering numerous services to small businesses in a big way.
Businesses lose customers due to a number of reasons. Most of these reasons can be improved upon. However, miscommunication is the biggest problem and also the most common.
Here are a few Small Business Tips to get Started:
Hire Customer Representatives or an Answering Service
When customers buy a product or purchase a service they want to know that there is a live person they can talk to when they have a question. Some companies are getting so technical. It is to the point that customers call in to address a concern, or to ask a question only to find them selves talking to an automated machine, rather than a real life person.
There are some questions that machines cannot answer. Small business owners lose customers when they cannot compete with larger companies. Larger companies are able to hire more employees. Smaller companies may not always have the budget to accommodate hiring additional employees, but there are other ways to still provide quality customer service.
One solution is to setup and create an account for your business on social media sites. Let customers know about the new services and products online, and that they can contact and communicate with your company through these social media pages. Another solution is to hire an answering service that can relay important messages 24 hours per day.
Have Customers Complete a Survey
Surveys are a great way to get feedback from your customers. They let the customers know that their opinions and thoughts are important to your business and it’s future. They can complete an online or paper survey depending on the nature of the business. If it is an online business they may prefer an online survey. Physical businesses can produce a paper version survey. Some businesses choose to add an incentive along with their surveys to make it more enticing, and increase repeat business. Your incentive can be a contest/raffle, where a survey is an entry to win a gift card to your business or 25% off their next bill.
Make sure the survey asks the tough questions that businesses may not want answered. Such as are you satisfied with the level of service you are receiving? Is this your first visit? Will you come here again? If yes explain what features or services they enjoyed? If no, ask why and ask them to suggest and expand on ways to improve the problem.
Follow Up With a Telephone Call or an Email
Staying in touch with customers is important. There may be too many to call but an email can reach thousands of customers in a matter of minutes. Let them know what is going on and invite them to come by or visit the site. Offer them special promotions or discounts that make them feel exclusive and appreciated.
Send out Greeting Cards and Birthday cards
Make it a point to send customers Christmas and Birthday cards. Customers feel better when they know they are more than a number. Plus this is a great promotional tool to use to win back customers who have gone astray. It’s up to you how you choose to send the message. You can send a postcard by mail if you want to add that extra personal touch, or you can save on postage and send them an e-card, which is just as good.
Rebuilding the communication gap with customers is not easy but it can be done.
- Stay focused.
- Devise a plan and stick to it.
- Do not be afraid to try new communication techniques.
- Identify and define the target audience
- Find ways to keep them coming back.
Any small business can succeed when they put their customer needs first.
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