There’s a fine art in making a strong first impression, performing the task at hand without a hitch and getting your customer to return. Repeat business is invaluable to small business owners, as it guarantees predictability when it comes to cash flow. Sometimes however, mistakes are made that jeopardise these repeat customers – elements of your business transaction that might not even register on your radar, but for your clients become a deal breaker.
Below are some of the more common mistakes businesses make when it comes to keeping customers, and the best ways to avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Overpricing yourself
Get your pricing right by knowing who your competition is, what they provide, and how you compare. A potential customer may go with the cheapest option even if it delivers a bit less. It’s just as important, however, to not undervalue yourself. Whatever price you choose to charge, make sure to effectively communicate your business offering and what makes you stand out from competitors.
Mistake #2 – Providing a vague estimate
Building trust is a critical component of earning repeat business. Ensure your client is aware of exactly what they’re paying for from the outset and build trust by providing as much detail as possible on expected costs and timing. When pricing doesn’t match expectation, your customer can become suspicious. The more detailed your estimate, the more transparent your costs and processes become.
Mistake #3 – Showing up late
Being on time is an easy way to show you’re both professional and reliable – turn up late and you automatically lose credibility. If time management isn’t your forte, use a scheduling app, always allow enough time for holdups, and make tardiness a non-negotiable for your small business.
Mistake #4 – Under-communicating
Communication with your client is key. As a small business owner you need to establish trust right from the beginning, and good communication is essential for this to happen. If you expect to see changes to a project timeline, communicate this as soon as possible. Avoid any nasty surprises for them along the way, and be as open as possible.
Mitsake #5 – Making the bill a hassle
Payment is one of the last pieces of the puzzle, and if it goes wrong, will leave a lasting impression in your client’s mind. Make it as easy as possible by offering a range of payment options. Sixty five per cent of people would rather pay by debit or credit card than any other form of payment. Accepting payment via multiple channels creates an easy way for customers to pay on the spot, while ensuring you get paid faster.
Mistake #6 – Failing to follow up
Whether it’s to follow up after you’ve sent through a quote or to touch base once you’ve completed a job, ensure you do it within two-three days. Avoid giving your customer a reason to think you’re too busy to give them the attention they need, and keep in mind that they’re busy too – sometimes they need a small reminder! Following up shows you care about your customer and reinforces your reliability as a business.
Avoiding these small mistakes will allow you to build a strong relationship with your customers from the beginning, leading to a reputation that will keep them coming back and will ensure the long-term success of your small business.
Chris Strode, Founder, www.invoice.2go.com