You’d be hard-pressed to find a small business that doesn’t depend on loyal clients for its livelihood. It’s no exaggeration to say that clients are the backbone of any successful enterprise. That being the case, it behooves all small business owners to put their best foot forward with regard to customer service. Unfortunately, a surprising number of entrepreneurs are sorely lacking in the client fulfillment department. In the interest of maintaining good professional relationships with your clients, take care to avoid the following blunders.
1. Not Responding in a Timely Manner
Certain small business owners have an unfortunate habit of putting client communications on the backburner. In addition to ignoring emails from clients they don’t feel like dealing with, these individuals will often actively dodge phone calls. Even if you have your hands full with other projects, no one is well-served by such a lack of communication. You may get out of an uncomfortable exchange in the short term, but in the long run, this can negatively impact your business in a number of ways. For starters, a client you ignore is less likely to give you work in the future. If you adopt this approach with enough clients, your patron roster will soon look very empty. Aspiring business owners looking for tips on maintaining professional relationships should check out the comprehensive MBA programs offered by mba.csumb.edu/.
2. Refusing to Take Responsibility
As the time-tested adage proclaims, “The customer is always right.” If a client takes issue with work your business has completed, it’s in everyone’s best interest that you hear him or her out and avoid getting overly defensive. It’s important to remember that no business is beyond reproach – and it’s entirely possible that someone on your team made a mistake and/or failed to properly understand a client’s instructions.
3. Lack of Politeness
Although treating clients with the utmost respect may strike you as a no-brainer, you’d be surprised to learn how many small business owners don’t do it. Once a business has had time to establish itself and build up a sizable client base, it’s all-too-easy for some entrepreneurs to forget their humble beginnings and begin taking clients for granted. Even if politeness doesn’t come naturally to you, make a conscious effort to exude courtesy every time you speak and/or meet with a client, be they current or prospective.
No small business can afford to take customer relations lightly. Without a steady stream of loyal clients, no enterprise would be able to make ends meet. To keep your clients coming back, remember to be prompt in responding to their correspondences, take responsibility for any mistakes your team makes and exercise common courtesy when dealing with them directly.