Thursday, 16 August 2012

Do you value your customers?

I recently outsourced some services to a small business owner, though not established, the service provided was a big relieve, and I hoped the transaction will create a lasting relationship between us. Since our first meeting, we have done our transactions mainly through phone successfully on four different occasions, and in all our discussions, I discovered I had to introduce myself whenever I call because he did not store my number on his phone.
Well, I felt I was not taken serious even though both of us were profiting from the transaction; I had to end the business relationship, and looked for another company to provide me with the same service.

                                Any relationship you cannot cherish, you cannot profit from it.

The starting point of any business is to build relationships and values around people. People make up a business and any business that will not take people seriously doesn’t deserve patronage. Until you begin to see your customers beyond the transactions and the amount you will earn from them, you will never take them serious. Forget about the customer being king, we all know it is hypocritical. Every decision we make, we make for the success of the business and not the customer.
Having value for your customers as much as you have for your business, is what keeps customer centric businesses growing. No matter how small the amount of the transaction, as long as you are profiting from it, respect it.

Some of the mistakes we make include:
1.      Failure to keep individual data or record
Some small businesses fail to have a database of their customers. They don’t know what their buying behavior is, they cannot tell at what point they are likely to buy more or less. Having information of your customers and their needs helps you serve them better.
2.      Not dealing with customer complain
This is quite obvious when there is a sudden upsurge of patronage. When there are complains, business owners tend to ignore it, sometimes, not deliberately. If this is allowed to continue, the result will be so many customers withdrawing from patronizing you.
3.      Focusing more on current customers
It is good to make new customers, but better to care for the old customers. The old customers will always be there when things go wrong. They have become loyal unlike the new ones. Finding a balance is very important as well as an attempt to convert the new customers into loyal customers.

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