“A customer that you inspire, is a customer you will keep.” – Anonymous
On its 51st year of celebrating the National Small Business Week, the US Small Business Administration came up with a timely theme, “Innovate and Inspire.” Small businesses have been the backbone of our community, inspiring new ideas to new businesses to bloom, like chain reaction, extending links to new businesses that fill the needs of millions of customers. They also perpetually giving opportunities to millions for employment. So this week from May 12 – 16, the entire nation is one in supporting this eventful celebration.
During this week, programs, seminars and training are promoted in different states like California, Kansas, New York, and DC. The activities help increase awareness on how small businesses can innovate and inspire. After all, their new tag line is “the lifeblood of our economy.” Recent study shows that this industry provides 2 employment opportunities for every 3 persons. In a way, they employ almost half of our country’s workforce! Indeed, their contribution is overwhelming!
But if we take a closer look, small businesses would not have thrived without customers. Millions of them shop to no end and hire them for their services. The recent figure shows that small business customers have reached more than 318 million! As we celebrate the Small Business Week, we should also take the time to thank these customers because they are very supportive all throughout these years. While we often love to hunt the next customer down, let’s make sure that we keep the ones we have. It is far more expensive and difficult to acquire new ones than it is to focus on retention.
Here are ways on how small business can take care of their customers without really trying:
Greet with a Smile.
It’s contagious. Affect others with your smile and positive results will come smiling back at you.
Specialize in something.
What is one thing that you really, really love doing? Specialize in it and go your way to make it your trademark, your specialty.
Call them even if there’s no sale intended.
Treat your customers like your friends. Don’t just seem to remember them when you have a sales quota to reach or something to sell. Just checking in on them can open new possibilities.
Show them something they still don’t know, or something that they are not aware that would be beneficial to them. For example, involve them in your plans. Show them a business mapping project that involves them. A bird’s eye view of your business project can help your customers understand your perspective. Engage them with business intelligence tools that you use like a mapping software and show them how they can be benefited.
It’s not all about you.
At times, customers come to your shop not only to purchase something but also to talk about some things. Pause for a while and be engaged. Exert an effort to learn some things about them. This will really be helpful in providing solutions to their problems and how you can fulfill their needs.
- Putting yourself into their shoes will help you to innovate business operations, customer services, planning, and creating sales and marketing strategy.
Deliver your commitment.
Some small businesses fall short in this area. The “C” word brings negativity more than something that should look forward to. Make your business known to have the reputation of delivering what you commit to your customers. Whether it’s customer satisfaction or product development, make sure that you are a step ahead into committing 100%.
Check customers after closing the sale.
After the sale has done, don’t make it a habit to go on MIA (missing in action). Make sure to connect with your customers, asking them on how they feel about the purchase and if there’s still something else they need.
To beloved customers, THANK YOU! You are truly the winners in this celebration!
Marga Dela Cruz is a thought leader and a consultant in data analysis and data visualization. She works in Mapline, a business mapping software that helps organizations simplify data and use it to optimize logistics, enhance market planning, identify growth opportunities, or mitigate market risks.