Although client loyalty is important to any enterprise, it’s particularly vital for small businesses. A fledgling enterprise that’s just getting its start can live or die by the whims of its regular clients. As such, it’s in the best interest of every small business owner to keep clients coming back.
Fortunately, generating client loyalty isn’t nearly as daunting as some businesses would have you believe. Committing yourself to solid customer service and consistently delivering on your promises can go a long way toward turning first-timers into life-long patrons. Any small business looking to bolster its roster of repeat clients should take the following measures.
Don’t Regard Deadlines As Suggestions
When determining which small businesses are worthy of their trust, many clients use the ability to meet deadlines as a prominent indicator. While completing projects by agreed-upon dates may seem like a no-brainer, a surprising number of enterprises seemingly have no qualms about treating deadlines as mere suggestions. Not only is this approach to deadlines practically guaranteed to lose your business, but it’s also likely to generate negative word of mouth, which can prove detrimental to your efforts at attracting new clients.
In the interest of avoiding such undesirable consequences, you and your team should regard deadlines as sacrosanct. Additionally, you can help prevent your crew from feeling overwhelmed by never committing to unrealistic deadlines. When trying to wow prospective clients, many business owners will succumb to the temptation to overpromise and tether themselves to deadlines that can’t be easily met – or met at all in some cases.
In addition to putting undue strain on your workforce, this approach can also severely impact the overall quality of a project. If your team is more concerned with expediency than anything else, the finished product is liable to reflect this.
So, when hammering out mutually beneficial deadlines with clients, make a point of only agreeing to completion dates that your team can comfortably work within. Furthermore, if a project massively expands in scope after work on it has begun, you are well within your rights to request an extension.
Maintain Clear Communication
When your continued financial solvency is dependent upon repeat clients, it is vitally important that you understand exactly what they expect of your enterprise. With this in mind, take care to remain in close contact with clients throughout every phase of a project’s completion. This way, any questions, concerns or miscommunications can be addressed in a timely and efficient manner. Furthermore, make sure every member of your team has a clear understanding of their individual role in each project.
Fully Own Your Mistakes
Many people regard owning one’s mistakes as a sign of weakness or a character flaw. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – particularly in the world of small business. Despite their best efforts, virtually every business makes the occasional blunder. As you’ll quickly find, the manner in which you address mistakes stands to make or break client relationships.
If you instinctively go on the defensive and insist that your business is in no way at fault, you’re likely to have trouble retaining your regulars. Conversely, if you accept whatever role your business played in a mistake or miscommunication, you may be surprised to discover how willing many people are to forgive and offer their continued patronage. Mistakes can also serve as valuable learning experiences for both you and your team.
Take Special Care With Shipments
If your business is largely built around shipping products to clients, you should take special care when packaging fragile items. For example, if the cargo you’re packing is particularly sensitive to shaking, jostling or other types of impacts, employ the use of a dependable impact recorder. As the name suggests, this handy device will record and log the various impacts a shipment experiences throughout its journey.
Client loyalty is essential to the success of any business. Even if you manage to win over new patrons, you shouldn’t assume that their continued business is a given. That being the case, make every effort to go above and beyond the call of duty when producing work for clients. Most customers appreciate honesty, dependability, and general professionalism, so if your business is lacking in any of these key areas, there’s no time like the present to get on top of this.
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