Startup 101: Some Important Customer Management Ideas You Need to Consider from the Onset
Running a business isn’t a walk in the park. This is not just because you have to meet business expectations, make money and keep all stakeholders happy, but because you also need to deal with humans which on its own is a lot of work.
Trust me, some customers can just walk right out of hell and straight into your business and that usually does not end well. In this article, I will share some insights that can help you keep it clean and going.
Understanding of terms of engagement.
Let everyone who comes into your business understand and accept to abide by your terms and conditions of doing business. And it will even make more sense if this is written and understood right from the onboarding stage before things start getting too serious and emotional.
Your engagement note or letter should clearly in fine prints specify important issues such as the scope of the agreement, its terms, costs, delivery period, possible and available communication channels and appropriate time of engaging your business on any of the channels.
This doesn’t only help your bossiness appear professional and save you and the customer from the headache of wrong assumptions, it also helps to increase revenue.
According to Gallup research, properly engaged customers can help increase revenue by as much as 23%.
Standardize your work.
This describes how an organization is supposed to complete a given task or tasks. Putting a sequential process in place in your business will help you find the cheapest and fastest way to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
And if you plan and do this well, you will exceed expectations such as the delivery date and this scores you high before your customers.
Being disorganized on how you handle the value delivery processes in your business ultimately translates into a lack of control and customers hardly pay for slopiness.
Ideal client profiling
When I started my financial consulting services, I was so sure that everyone should be my ideal client. Who wouldn’t do with a little help to fix his finances?
Oh! How wrong I was.
The hard way, I learned that not everyone truly wants to fix his financial issues and there are a whole lot more who want to but can’t pay for it and those who just don’t believe they should pay. And that’s fine.
All I had to do was to get better at profiling clients from the beginning with carefully curated questions to understand them properly before committing my time and energy.
Customers might be king, they are not always right…
The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, and is typically used by businesses to convince customers that they will get good service at this company and convince employees to give customers good service.
But I think a better phrase should be, “The right customer is always right”.
Gordon Bethune, the Author of “from worst to first” believes that there is a conflict between the business and unruly customers, the business is right. Take that as a rule.
in his words:
“When we run into customers that we can’t reel back in, our loyalty is with our employees. They have to put up with this stuff every day. Just because you buy a ticket does not give you the right to abuse our employees…
We run more than 3 million people through our books every month. One or two of those people are going to be unreasonable, demanding jerks. When it’s a choice between supporting your employees, who work with you every day and make your product what it is, or some irate jerk who demands a free ticket to Paris because you ran out of peanuts, whose side are you going to be on?
You can’t treat your employees like serfs. You have to value them … If they think that you won’t support them when a customer is out of line, even the smallest problem can cause resentment”.
There you have it. However…
Never forget to make the right customers feel great.
In the words of Carl W. Buehner, “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Apart from the fact that customers who are made to feel great in the business stay, they also go-ahead to work for you for free…they spread the news of your goodness to the world.
And as all savvy business people know, word of mouth marketing; though ancient, remains one of the most effective modes of marketing.
Everybody must know the products well enough to serve the customers better
In the words of Bill Bernbach, “Know your product inside and out before you start working. And relate that knowledge to the consumer’s needs.”
Product knowledge positions your business as a serious and competent brand.
Ensure that everyone in your business is able to answer basic product questions. This includes demonstrating competence and confidence through body language when communicating such information to customers.
Don’t Forget to be Human
AI and every other form of smart tech are very important. But should never take out the human interaction component of your customer relationship management.
People buy from people and also hope to be served by people. Ignoring this, no matter how large you might be could mean losing business in droves.
Moving forward, do everything possible to keep your customers happy and returning; it makes #moneysense that way.
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