Ask most people why they like working with a small business their answers will include: ” I like their personal approach”, I’m not just a number with them” or “I get to work with the owner, not some trainee”. These are some of the things that your customer/clients say when things are going good, they are your best advocates in good times.
The problem is, if the perceived service level that your firm provides drops, then these same advocates may start looking for a larger firm, a more “professional firm”. Notice I used the word “perceived”. The following are danger signals to your clients/customers, about your ability to continue providing the quality of service and products that they feel they deserve.
- Your Phone: This is still the number one contact method that potential or current customers use.This morning I called a small business owner and the fax machine was on the line. Callers expect an answer, even if it is only a voice mail box. Whenever possible, a real live voice is always the best. If your call goes to voice mail than make sure you acknowledge the call as soon as possible; even if you can’t spend time on the phone. Consider using your cell phone as a primary number; it is always with you and it is much more accessible than your office phone.
- E-mail: This is rapidly becoming a critical communication method. Like with the phone, people expect an acknowledgment that the e-mail has been received and also an answer via e-mail or phone, as soon as possible. it is possible to have more than one e-mail address and also you can get your e-mail directed to a “smart phone”. Make sure that you use your own domain as part of your e-mail address instead of @gmail.com, @cox.net, @aol.com, etc. By using these generic addresses, it portrays a temporary business. Buy a domain name and use it.
- Don’t give a customer’/client a series of phone numbers to call when they try to reach you. You should have one number that follows you. I am writing this blog from my vacation home in Pinetop AZ. all my phones follow me so my clients have only one number to reach me.
- Don’t have constant technology problems. Every business will experience an occasional technology glitch, the key word is occasional. You don’t have to have your own technology department, but have a reliable person that you can reach and that will respond quickly.
Technology allows a small business to project a “big image”. Communication is the life line to your business.
” It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”
Have a great day!
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