There are many reasons in this world to start a company, and many ways to build a business. Maybe you are passionate about something, maybe you have prior experience or maybe you just want to be your own boss. These are just some of the reasons. People follow their dreams, work hard and build their dream businesses and open the door to their customers. It could be a shop in a multimillion-dollar shopping centre or it could be just an online store. There are 2 things are common here:
1. You are passionate about your business,
2. You need customers to run your business.
The question is, if we all are following our dreams and has started the business that we are passionate about, then why 7 out of 10 businesses fails in their first 3 years? There could be so many reasons, such as: cash flow, a bad idea, lack of capital, poor strategic management or simply trading losses. Whatever the reason is, one of the main root causes of all the failed businesses is always been lack of customers.
A simple truth about any business is, if you have customers, that’s mean you are doing something right. In another case, when you first open, you might have lots of customers but as time goes, you are losing your customers one by one. There are no repeat customers. And before you know it, you are dealing with at least one of the above-mentioned issues in your business and finally, after 2-5 years, you are out of the business. So, why do you think you have lost all those customers that you used to have the first one year of your business, why did they stopped coming to you? Why did they choose someone else before you?
There are so many reasons. But the truth is, opening or starting a business is much easier then keeping your business running. Why? Because to run a business, you have to win customers. And how do you win customers? The first and most important way to win your customers and making them a long-time customer is “trust”.
Trust is at the heart of every business transaction, big and small. If anything, technology has made it even more important and given us new ways to build it.
A decade ago the idea of staying in a stranger’s house during your vacation would have been unthinkable. Then along came Airbnb and changed the way people travel forever. They did it by building trust, in their own brand and between individuals. In simplifying the communication between hosts and guests and allowing guests and hosts to rate each other while constantly iterating the system to improve it, Airbnb gave its customers the ability to assess other people’s reputations and created trust in the booking process. Airbnb’s whole product is built on trust, and the business of trust has turned them into a company worth billion.
So as a small or big business owner, what can we do to create that trust and win those customers for ever?
- Trust and service
Customers buy a service, they don’t buy technology. They buy an outcome or an experience. A customer buying from an organisation is effectively saying “you’ve made me a promise, I expect you to deliver on that promise.” In this service experience, every part of the business has to collaborate, and every part of the business has to be joined up on what they’re trying to achieve. True customer service isn’t restricted to the customer service or marketing teams, it should span all functions of the business.
- Identify exceptions
As a business it is imperative that you try to identify an exception. There are 100s of other businesses who does provide the same service as you. Then why you are different? Why should a customer choose you, not X, Y or Z?
- Give options
Realizing that the customer journey isn’t always direct and simple is a positive first step. From there, you could choose to offer one alternative, effectively force-fitting an option that might not work for every customer. Even if slightly inconvenient, that one option might be preferable to some customers and guess what, that one alternative will bring all those customers back to you.
- Automate and inform
Now a days, we all go to online for customer service because it’s available anytime and anywhere. It’s no wonder why customers prefer self-service. If a customer needs to make changes to an order or a delivery due to unexpected circumstances, as a business you can keep their experience positive by making actions as simple as a few clicks or taps and providing them with proactive updates to ensure they stay informed.
- Going beyond what’s expected
As a customer, when we buy a product or service, we all expect some kind of care and acknowledgments in case if there are any issues. And the businesses who can meet that criteria and goes above and beyond to solve a customer issue, are the one who are able to run their businesses long term. Create a team of people who are dedicated to help those customers and find a suitable solution. As a business, maybe you can’t solve every single issue but most of the time, your intention of solving the issue will create a positive image in the customer mind. They will know that, you will do every possible thing to make it right for them if there are any issues.
There are so many other reasons, that will create a group of people who will be your customers forever but above are some of the basics that, as an entrepreneur we should always take care of these rules which will help us to create a solid foundation of our business. Remember, if your foundation is not right, a small gust of wind can break you.