You could fade away into obscurity and no one would notice.
Now, that’s a depressing thought. People hate the idea of being dispensable: it makes one want to scarf down an entire bag of Cheetos while binge watching Toddlers & Tiaras (such a dark place). This becomes an even scarier prospect if you’re a small business owner.
What would you do if your customers found it as easy as blinking to move their business to your competitors? You rely on them to keep you afloat. You need them to see your business as a necessity, but how? Here are three easy ways you can create a business that’s indispensable to your precious customers.
- Always Be ListeningWe all know what it’s like to feel ignored. No matter the scenario, it never feels good. I have been in many situations where I’m even asked to repeat myself to someone I thought should be interested. Maybe she got caught in an off moment. Maybe he really doesn’t care. Regardless, customers deserve your undivided attention.Lending an empathetic ear to your customers and repeating back what you understand about an issue is a good measure in creating a meaningful relationship. If possible, use a tool CRM like Zoho, Insightly, or Salesforce. These will help your business track previous conversations with customers so a recurring issue never has to be rehashed from the beginning – a win-win for everyone.
- Hire Superstar Support Staff
It isn’t always possible in a small business to hire a slough of support staff, but the staff you do hire should be just as knowledgeable about your business as you, and have a deep understanding of what you offer and a good deal of emotional intelligence. We’re not telling you to run out and scoop up someone with a crazy high IQ, but hiring quality staff is key.If you already have your superstar support staff in place, the next step is to build up your staff and create a customer-centric environment. This does not happen on it’s own. Check out this post for tips on creating a business that revolves around its customer. Put a reward system in place for the superstars who delight your customers. Not only will this motivate the honored superstar, but it will light a fire under your other staff.
- Keep Up with the TimesHave you had the same web site since 2000? Are you still avoiding social media? Are you still selling t-shirts that say, “Got Y2K?” It’s time for an upgrade. We’re not saying you have to change your products in order to become indispensable, but it’s helpful to keep up with trends and what your customer needs now versus what they needed 15 years ago.Moving with the times helps you to stand apart from your competition and keeps you relevant. So, redesign that web site to a more modern layout. For all that is good in this world, please get your business on social media (you don’t have to be everywhere, but that’s a totally different blog), and maybe consider getting rid of the “Got Y2K?” t-shirts. It’s so played out, you know?
Your customers are the key players in your business’ success. You owe it to them to be indispensable by providing service and products that delight time and time again. Listening to their feedback and acting on it is a start. Listen, hire the right people, and keep moving ahead; these things will keep your business from fading away into obscurity.