1. Not Listening To Your Customers
This one mistake can damage your business in a moment notice. If you’re not listening to what your customers need and are asking for then they will go to your competitors who will listen to them. You and your business are in existence for one reason and one reason only – to serve your customers needs and wants.
Without fulfilling that mission your business doesn’t exist. Therefore it only makes sense that everything your business does is done as a way to meet the needs of your customers. If your business does this one simple thing, you won’t have to worry about the bottom line because the money will come. People will pay more for a service or product if it is provided by a company that always does its best to meet their customers’ needs, even if that same product or service is available for less from someone else. It’s the attention to their needs that justifies the higher price in their minds.
In short, always make sure that you are doing your best to give your customers what they want and need. If you don’t know what those things are then it’s your job as the business owner to simply ask them. Send out questionnaires to your clients via social media sites, emails, newsletters, or onsite surveys asking specific questions about your products and services. Leave room at the end of these questionnaires for them to be able to write any additional concerns or needs that they may have that you haven’t covered. These types of proactive steps will help to put your business on the path to being ‘the’ place to go for top-notch service and products.
2. Not Staying In Touch With And Engaging Your Customers
Not staying in contact with your customers and engaging them on a regular basis after they have decided to spend their hard-earned money on your products and services is another common mistake businesses make. This is the equivalent of dropping them like a hot potato and not a very marketing technique.
Most businesses spend all of their time marketing to try and acquire new customers but once they get them they essentially forget about them. How would that make you feel? No one likes to be forgotten about especially when you’ve decided to invest in a company’s products and services. Your customers want to feel appreciated and special. It’s your company’s job to make that happen!
Once your business has acquired a customer or client send them an email thanking them for their business and letting them know that you’re there for them should then need anything else. Also, encourage all your customers to connect with your business on social media. Creating a big social media following gives your business an easy way contact and engage with all of your clients (past, current, and future) in one place. This provides a great feeling of being part of a community for your customers and makes engaging with them and easier task for you and your business.
In addition to social media, sending regular newsletters or email blasts to your past and current customers is a great way to let them know you haven’t forgotten about them as well. Included in these regular customer contacts should be special offers, discounts, and services created just for them. This is a great way to show that you care about them and want to provide the best services and products to them. It also acknowledges their loyalty with price reductions and extra services not offered to non-customers.
3. Bad customer service
Nothing will make customers run for the hills faster than receiving bad customer service. When a customer has invested in your company by purchasing your products or services make sure that the relationship doesn’t end there. Your business could have the best service or product available on the market but if it’s not backed up by great customer service it won’t mean anything. Eventually the reputation of your business will be that of a company that doesn’t care about its customers and people will begin to leave and go to your competition.
The basics of great customer service are not rocket science yet many businesses neglect to implement them. Here are a few absolute necessities if you want your business to have the best customer service around.
- Hire great people! If your business doesn’t have people with great customer service skills this is the time to do a little housekeeping. Get rid of those who don’t have the personality needed to provide your customers with great service or at the least put them in positions where they don’t have customer contact. They might be nice people but if they are pushing your customers away they are not doing you or your business any favors. Many businesses have had great products and services but have lost customers due to the attitudes of their employees. Don’t let this be you!
- Listen! Your customers want to know they are being heard. Even if you feel the person is being unreasonable, listen! Listen to their words, their tone of voice, how they say they are feeling, and watch their body language. These all give great clues to how you can make them happy. Most times when customers are seemingly being ‘unreasonable’ it’s because they are not being fully understood. Never assume you know what they need. Ask questions and take the time to find out exactly what they are saying then do your best to provide a resolution that is mutually agreed upon.
- Apologize! No one likes to be wrong. However, if you are wrong admit it. Nothing will get the respect and appreciation of your customers quicker than showing them you can own your mistakes. Even if your or your business hasn’t made a mistake, apologize for not attending to your customers’ needs. Ask them what you can do to make them happy. Sometimes this most simple of actions will make your customer take note of your willingness to please them and calm them right down. Then you can come from a place of mutual respect and come to a resolution more quickly. Many times your customer is just hurt and feeling like they are not being taken care of. An apology is sometimes all they need in order to be open to suggestions from you.
- Give more than expected! This is quite possibly the golden rule of business. Keeping ahead of competition means giving more than anyone else can or will do. Ask yourself what you can give your clients that no one else can? How can you follow-up with people and thank them even if they don’t buy anything from your company? What can you do for your customers that is totally unexpected? These type of actions will put you and your business in your customers’ top-of-mind and keep them coming back for more with their friends, colleagues, and family in tow.
- Treat your internal customers well! Those internal customers are your employees. When your employees are treated well and feel appreciated they will extend those things to your customers. Many business owners overlook their employees and how taking care of them directly reflects on the happiness of the company’s customers.
4. Ignoring Problems Or Issues That Need Addressing
Running a business can be overwhelming and things can easily get lost in the shuffle. However, no matter how many fires you’ve got burning at once it’s never a good idea to ignore problems or issues that need addressing. Taking care of these things when they first pop up will not only keep them from becoming bigger issues but will also protect your reputation. Admitting there’s a problem, apologizing, and addressing it before anyone else calls you out on it will help to prevent bad reviews. It will also help to build your reputation of being reliable, honest, and trustworthy.
5. Only Focusing On Profits
Your business is just that – a business and it’s important to know where you stand financially. However, if all you ever focus on is profits your customers will feel that. The real bottom line is if you focus on the customer and what they want and need, provide great customer service as well as great products and services, the money will follow. Excelling at what you do and being better than the competition is what will make your profits grow. Do that and the only other thing you’ll be focusing on is your growing bank account.
6. Ignoring The Competition And Not Innovating
It’s easy to lose sight of the competition when your business is providing the latest, greatest, most cutting-edge product or services in the market. However, being complacent and ignoring the competition completely is one of the worst mistakes a business can make. Today business is moving at the speed of light. You may not have had any competition yesterday but it doesn’t take long for other companies to see what you’re doing, copy it, and make their products and services better.
The key to being in business long-term is constantly being aware of what is happening in the marketplace and being innovative. At any time your customers can be lured away by your competition’s product or services. You have to constantly be thinking about the alternative options your customers are being exposed to. Instead of using your product or service, what else could your customer do? Is it possible your customers could decide to do nothing? Your job is to think of these things first and provide a solution to your customers that they can’t walk away from. Make your products or services so head and shoulders above anything else that’s available that your customers wouldn’t dare choose anything else.
7. Not Having A Crystal Clear Vision
Nothing is more frightening than a business without a clear vision. If you aren’t clear about what your business stands for, what its mission is, what goals you’re trying to achieve, what marketing strategies to use, and more it’s just like being in a rowboat without a paddle. How can your business begin to grow and move forward when no one, including yourself, knows which direction to go in and how to get there?
All businesses, big or small, need to know what their objectives are. Yes, of course, the main objective of any business is to make money but how are you going to make that happen? Being crystal clear about your company’s goals, mission, strategies, objectives, ideal customers, and more is the only way to have steady growth. In addition to being crystal clear about these things you also have to constantly review and assess the progress of these objectives. Business is a continuously morphing entity and it needs to be assessed and adjusted according to the environmental conditions that are happening at the moment. Even if conditions were to remain the same, which they rarely do, your business vision still needs to be assessed and adjusted as it achieves its goals and mission.
8. Not Taking Care Of Employees
This point was mentioned above in regards to customer service but it has all encompassing ripples throughout your business. When employees are made to feel valued and appreciated by their employers they will pass that on to the customers. Remember, your employees are your front line to your customers and their attitudes reflect directly on your business. If they are happy and proud to be a part of your business they will make your customers feel those same feelings. Happy, appreciated, and proud customers make loyal, raving-fan customers for life and they usually bring their family, friends, and colleagues along for the ride too.
One of your biggest jobs as a business owner is making sure you hire the right people to work for you and then making sure those people love working for you. That combination is what makes businesses flourish and excel beyond any competition they could possibly have. Treat your employees like your most prized asset because they are and they can make the difference between a business that is successful and one that is constantly struggling.
9. Constantly Reducing Prices When Things Get Tough
It might seem like the obvious thing to do in tough times but it can actually have the opposite effect on your business. Customers are willing to pay more for a product if there is a real perceived value to them. If you keep cutting the prices of your products and services you are sending the message that your products and services are not worth more.
Instead increase the quality of your products and services as well as the quality of your customer service and you will find that people will be willing to pay whatever you ask as long as it is within fair market value.
10. Trying To Do Everything Yourself!
It’s not unusual for a business owner to want to do everything in their business themselves. After all, they’re usually the movers and shakers of the world and know how to get things done. However, there’s only so much of you and far too many tasks involved to be a Jack-of-all-trades. Trying to do everything yourself not only wears you out physically but it also weakens your performance. You may think you’re doing everything better than anyone else could do it but I assure you you’re not. There is no way to spread yourself so thin without compromising your results. Doing this continuously will eventually damage your business as well.
So what’s the solution? Make a list of everything that you like to do and you honestly (and that’s the keyword ‘honestly’) know you do well. If you’re not sure what those things are start asking everyone around you what you’re best at when it comes to business. Those are the things you should focus on and do yourself.
Now here’s the tough part, make a list of the things you do not do well and again ask those around you what they feel your weak areas are. Don’t be offended by what they tell you either. Everyone has their strong points and their weak points and intelligent people recognize those things and make that knowledge work for them. This list of weak points are the jobs that you delegate to others or hire experts in those areas to do.
Next, make a list of those things you just don’t like to do. Now maybe some of those things you have to do regardless because you really are the best person for the job. However, I am willing to bet a bunch of those things you hate to do can also be delegated to an expert in the field.
Once you have your list of things you should do, things others should do, and things you could do but don’t want to do you’re ready to hire the experts in those fields to help you run your business. Some examples of the types of jobs you should have experts deal with are building and maintaining your business website, creating and maintaining your company’s social media presence, running your company’s online marketing campaigns, creating and updating your company’s mobile apps, an more like this. Each one of these things is a job in itself so you can’t expect to be able to run your business and do a great job with these things too.
Tackling each of these 10 common mistakes businesses regularly make and correcting them will do amazing things for your business and its bottom-line. It will also do wonders for your reputation and create a solid base for the continuing growth of your business.
Now what are you waiting for? Get started on correcting these mistakes in your business and if you are ready to hire some experts to help you with your website, social media, graphics design, mobile app creation and much more contact NetSource Technologies’ experts by clicking the Contact Us button below or call us at (800) 709-3240.