The business environment is becoming increasingly competitive, with global opinions influencing customers of even the smallest local businesses. The best method of competing in a world where customer perception is reality – at least when it comes to the impact of social and other media – is to create a company that people simply want to do business with.
Here are a few things which every business can do in order to create the best possible environment for engaging new customers and providing quality service. Regardless of industry or business orientation, these 4 simple considerations will go a long way towards creating a sustainable, high quality operation which recognizes the value of a customer relationship – whether it’s an internal or external customer.
Teach everyone in the company that they’re part of sales and customer service.
Each and every member of the organization should be in a position to help customers get what they need, and to help guide the customer towards the various products, services or solutions the company offers. This means that internal training is essential, and all employees should be fully informed in the offerings of the company. Business owners will find that one of the best ways to reach and retain the best workers is to provide ongoing skills development and training programs. The result is a more confident and productive workforce and workers who feel more satisfied with their jobs. It’s also important to recognize that employees are another form of ‘customer’ of the company, and surveying them to understand how satisfied they are with the work is a really good idea. When employees lack satisfaction in their jobs or with the company they work for, it will be revealed in their interactions with customers and other workers, which is not good for business.
Remember that first impressions count – a lot.
You only have one chance at the first impression, and it takes a lot more work to overcome a bad impression than it does to leave a good one in the first place. This means that the company should promote a quality, clean and professional image. When speaking to customers on the phone, speak clearly, professionally and politely. Make sure that all workers arrive at their jobs in clean uniforms and in clean, branded trucks. Customers should not only know who’s parked outside, but a good-looking branded vehicle is a mobile advertisement for the company and can deliver a lot of good impressions. On the other hand, not maintaining or caring properly for vehicles and equipment can deliver the opposite type of impression you want to leave.
Do company business with the company voice.
Communication is essential in building a successful business, and it is important that the messages be what the company wants the customers and market to hear. When communicating on company business, always use the company email address and contact information rather than personal email addresses or generic domains. Just like with uniforms and trucks, communications from the company should be branded and professional so that the right type of impression is created. The business website (which should support mobile devices!) is available to help communicate your values, brand and services, and should serve to present your business as someone a customer would want to do business with. Posting case studies and testimonials can be very useful in this regard as they help to build credibility in your company and convey the trust others have in your services. Apply social media and listing services, too, so that customers and prospects can find information on your company and read good things others have said. It’s important, however, to remember that social media can go both ways. While being a great way to reach new customers as well as reminding current customers of the other products and services you offer, it could also turn negative. If there is negative feedback, be honest and reasonable, but address it quickly.
Work beyond corporate walls.
The business exists in a community, and workers in the company live in neighborhoods and have lives beyond the business they work for. Community service is a way to develop a more cohesive and productive team while developing closer community relations and enhancing the image of the company and ownership. Volunteering and creating an environment where service to others is promoted helps build a team atmosphere in the company, and expresses the understanding that businesses will thrive when the communities around them thrive.