With a challenging economy for many consumers and businesses nationwide for that matter, it is important for the latter to always look at how they can keep their companies one step ahead of the competition. Face it; failure to do so can lead to closed doors and financial headaches rather quickly.
Given those thoughts, what will you do in 2016 to make your business shine above that of your competition?
Some business owners will turn to different marketing ventures, looking to capitalize on the latest in mobile marketing and other efforts to woo customers.
Others, meantime, will stay grounded, missing out on opportunities to improve the customer user experience. If you find yourself in this group, there are ways to improve upon this now and down the road.
Always Look to Better Customer Service
In order to enhance your business opportunities (notably your revenue stream), it is crucial that you always are thinking about how to improve the customer service experience.
One of the reasons consumers come to your business is likely the fact that they are happy with the customer service provided. In fact, that alone can sometimes sway the pendulum in your favor over what the competition can provide.
With that in mind, here are some ways to make for happier customers and in turn a happier you:
- Customers are usually right – You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage that “the customer is always right,” yes? While that adage is certainly not always true, you have to act as if it is. It just takes one or a handful of unhappy customers to make things unhappy for you and your brand, especially as it relates to your financial survival. Treat the customers with respect, even when you know they are wrong and you or your employees are right;
- Be financially sound – There is no doubt that countless small business owners have experienced trying financial times over the years running their companies. Whether they go into business with not much money in their rainy day funds or they fail to take off after a year or so, those challenging financial issues can be bad in several ways, impacting both business owner and customer. For starters, you can’t run in a business (at least a sound one) when your cash flow is close to running dry. Whether you need fast cash for your business or are looking towards long-term goals, your cash flow needs to avoid major disruptions. Always make sure you try and stick to your budget as much as possible, thereby avoiding costly expenditures. If you find your office rental space is gouging you, look for a cheaper place to call home. While layoffs are never pleasant, consider if you’ve got a little too much fat on your payroll and how you could trim some of it without negatively impacting your operations. You should also review what you’re spending on supplies and other necessities. If you have employees spread out over town, how about the option of allowing occasional telecommuting or even perhaps having a 10-hour/4-day work week, allowing you to close the office one weekday on a regular basis? Your financial operations are always going to play a major role in how successful or unfortunately why your small business is struggling, so keep an eye on how much green is going out and what amount is coming back in;
- Long-term growth potential – Another area to never turn a blind eye to is your company’s long-term growth potential. Even though you are undoubtedly focused (and rightfully so) on the here and now, what are your long-term goals and aspirations? Are they reasonable and can be achieved or are they a little too far-fetched given your current business operations? While many small businesses falter in that known one-to-five year window, countless others march right along, amassing more customers (happy ones at that) on a yearly basis. In order for you to fall into that latter category, having some long-term vision is important. The possibility of expansion (both in employees and maybe your offices) is something that must be planned for, not done on a whim. Measure your projected growth (and even decline) regularly to see what you must prepare for. The demographics you currently service could change in even just a year from now, so be prepared and not caught off guard.