Small businesses face many challenges, not least of which is the task of impressing and retaining loyal and trusting clients. People can often be weary of new or smaller businesses, and it can take a while to build a solid reputation that you’re a reliable and trustworthy company.
Beyond delivering first-class services, you need to consider all of the ways in which your customers will assess the credibility of your business. In this post, we explore how to make a lasting impression on your clients and stand out, so you can keep your small business thriving.
Deliver excellent customer service
There are plenty of companies that fall short when it comes to customer service, so if you want to leave a smile on your client’s face, don’t be one of them. Invest in high-quality and dependable human resources to ensure your clients can contact a support team 24/7, or at
least during office hours, without waiting for hours on hold.
Great customer service means being quick to respond and having a proactive, problem-solving approach. Although the old saying goes, ‘the customer is always right’, this doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to be bullied or mistreated by your customers. Having policies set in place that clearly state your refund and cancellation procedures can help you feel confident when replying to a customer who is unhappy. Of course, being polite and professional is vital at all times, even if your customers aren’t.
Offer a Personal Touch
On a similar note, one of the benefits of being a small business is that you can afford to care that much more about each of your unique customers. From sending handwritten thank you notes to taking the time to send a follow up email yourself, there are plenty of ways to deliver a more personalized experience that bigger brands won’t be able to.
While the use of AI is a popular tool for customer support, some people may find it difficult to use as it is less personal. Having to navigate through an automated system before being able to talk to a real-life person who can resolve your issue is a frustration that customers don’t look favorably upon. In fact, nearly 40% of Americans would rather talk to a person than an AI bot. To make a lasting impression, keep the personal touch when dealing with your clients. In fact, this is often a big reason why people choose to buy from small businesses instead of giant retailers/brands – you can often get a customized experience or interactions with the owner!
Creating content which engages your clients is another great way to make your small business more personable. You could upload short videos of you handcrafting your items or packaging an order, which will showcase the love and devotion you put into each order.
Similarly, if a client or customer gives you feedback, make an effort to implement it into your processes. You could then upload visual proof that you care by showing how you’ve adapted your products or services in response.
Build a professional brand
Understandably, people want to feel reassured before parting with their hard-earned cash – so you need your business to boast reliability and professionalism. Especially in today’s world where your online presence is absolutely vital, be sure that your website has all of the necessary information and that your content is grammatically correct. Poor spelling and incomplete sites with broken buttons and inconsistent fonts will be a red flag to many customers and turn them away.
Taking the time to work on creating a professional brand means that your small business will be more desirable to new customers. Adding personality throughout helps to create a trusting relationship with your clients which will keep them coming back. Being unique and not too similar to bigger brands can help your small business stand out from the competition – you don’t want to just be “another one of those brands”. Always focus on what you offer that makes your business different.
Of course, all the information you provide on your website or marketing materials should be original – do NOT copy others. AI can be useful, but make sure to personalize it a little or you may end up sounding like someone else’s website. Not only will this harm your SEO rankings, but it can also ruin your reputation in the long-run.
Be transparent and ethical
Now more than ever, people want to know how their products are created. Sustainability is a hot topic, and one study found that over 77% of consumers prefer socially responsible businesses.
If you can, incorporating eco-friendly products and packaging into your small business will help you set the precedent that you’re doing your part to protect the planet and trade responsibly. Actions you can take include using recycled paper packaging and sourcing fairtrade ingredients. It’s an easy way to make your business stand out, as consumers intentionally look for products that align with their values.
Regardless of your processes, being transparent with your customers about where in the world your products were created or where you sourced them is a great way to build trust. After all, you want your customers to be proud of the services they receive from you.
Focus on making a positive impact
A business can only succeed with a constant stream of satisfied customers. If yours are so impressed with your products and services that they want to tell all of their friends and family about them, you’re on the right track.
No matter which type of small business owner you are, putting the needs of your customers or clients first is crucial to building a trustworthy brand. Besides ensuring all of the technical aspects of your business run smoothly, be sure to work towards adding value to the entire customer experience wherever you can. Go above and beyond – that’s how you’ll stand out as a small business to any customer. By following these steps, you’ll be sure to make a lasting impression on your clients.