Regular clients are everything to a small business. In the absence of repeat patrons, many small businesses would have considerable trouble staying afloat. That being the case, every small business should strive to go above and beyond with regard to meeting client expectations. While it’s true that some clients are liable to have much loftier expectations than others, keeping customers happy isn’t nearly as daunting a task as you may think. Small business owners who value their regular patrons and want to keep them coming back for the foreseeable future will be well-served by the following pointers.
Fully Understand Client Expectations
Before diving into a new project, it is imperative that you and your team fully understand what your client expects. If even a single member of your team is unclear on any given point, this can pave the way for large errors down the line. With this in mind, make sure that everyone involved in completing a project is well-versed in the specifics of this project in advance of starting work. If your team knows exactly what a client expects, they’ll be well-equipped to meet – and possibly even surpass – their expectations.
Understanding client expectations from the get-go can also prevent you from committing to projects your business isn’t equipped to complete. While the temptation to promise prospective clients the moon can often prove overwhelming, agreeing to a project for which you lack the manpower, knowledge or resources is practically guaranteed to backfire on you. Not only will this ultimately draw the ire of clients whose expectations have been dashed, but it’s also liable to result in negative word of mouth, which can prove disastrous for your enterprise in the long run.
As previously stated, it can be tempting for fledgeling enterprises to promise more than what they’re able to deliver. This is particularly true in the case of businesses that sorely need new clients. While there’s nothing wrong with being confident in your team’s abilities, overpromising is likely to frustrate both clients and employees. Committing to a project your workforce is unqualified to tackle will stress out your team members and anger clients whose expectations fail to be met.
Agreeing to unrealistic deadlines can produce similar results. Even if your team is perfectly qualified to complete a project, saddling them with an unrealistic time frame in which to do so is likely to result in overworked, thoroughly stressed employees and work that clients find unsatisfactory. Again, overpromising can be very tempting, especially when you’re hurting for new business. However, promising more than you can deliver won’t work out well for anyone involved. This may prompt some clients to take a chance on your enterprise, but upon seeing the results of overpromising, most of them are unlikely to give you a second chance.
Clearly Communicate Questions and Concerns
Some small businesses go out of their way to never bother clients. While this may sound like a good policy in theory, it also stands to result in improperly completed work. Whenever your team encounters a point on which they’re unclear, it is strongly recommended that you reach out to the client for clarification. If you and the client aren’t on the same page throughout every phase of a project, you both may be in for an unpleasant surprise when you present them with the results of your team’s labour. So, in the interest of cultivating lasting client relationships, always keep the lines of communication wide open.
Utilize Smart Shipping Practices
If shipping products to clients is a large part of your business, you’d do well to utilize smart shipping practices. This means working with dependable shipping partners, not committing to unrealistic delivery deadlines and taking measures to keep products safe throughout every leg of their journey. When it comes to the third point, cutting-edge RFID tracking tools can prove particularly helpful.
In the world of small business, client trust is everything. If you consistently meet – or surpass – your clients’ expectations, there’s a good chance you receive a lot of repeat business. On the flip side, however, if you regularly have trouble remaining on the same page as your clients, many of them are unlikely to place their trust in you for a second time. Although it can’t be denied that some patrons are harder to please than others, exceeding customer expectations doesn’t have to entail running your team ragged. So, if dashed expectations are a common problem for your small business, but the measures discussed above to good use.