Wanna know a secret? It’s not really that hard to start a business. No, with a good idea and a little snaz, you can be up and running fairly quickly.
Now for the punchline. It is not terribly difficult to start a business, but it is a monumental accomplishment to stay in business. In fact, most business startups fail within 4 years.
So what’s the key? The secret sauce? The mojo? How do you make it with such odds against you?
Superior. Customer. Service.
Yes, there is heartache and slavish labor. Yes, you will be broke for a while. Yes, there are copious amounts of literal blood, sweat, and tears to make your enterprise thrive. But if you don’t take care of your customers, no amount of hard work will fix it.
In business, you live and die by how happy you make people. In today’s business climate, it is not enough to be good at something. There are lots of businesses that are good at something. What is going to set you apart and build your brand is how well you care for your precious, precious customers.
So, how to? How do you thrill your customers and clients so they stick with you and help you survive the dismal startup statistics? Here are 3 ideas:
1) Do the Hard Thing.
Yes, clients come to you for products and services. But more than that, they come to you to help them solve problems. They come to you for expertise. They come to you to make their lives easier. And that is not always pretty.
There are elements of every industry that nobody wants to touch. For instance, I was in the childcare industry for ten years. In that field, most centers preferred not to have a lot of older kids (3rd-5th grade). They’re big, they’re mouthy, and they can be difficult. In short, they were hard to deal with.
However, many of those older kids had younger siblings. So, at the center where I worked, we developed techniques for handling the older kids, doing the hard thing, and making them happy. As a result, we grew our enrollment because once a parent found a place that actually wanted their older girl or boy, they brought their younger sibling to our center as well. Parents loved having a place to care for both of their kids. One stop shopping. Happy customers.
Get good at something difficult, provide it to your clients, and watch them smile.
2) Do the Extra Thing.
We’ve all heard about “going the extra mile”, and it is a real thing. This is doing more than the scope of work dictates, putting the extra polish on your work that your customers were not expecting. You don’t have to go broke giving away work; even small extras go a long way.
Let’s say you own a web development company, and you build a great website for a client. They are happy. Now let’s say when you give your client the keys to their new site you hand them 1000 newly printed business cards that have been branded like their new website. That extra work will buy you much more love than you could have gotten otherwise.
I have known realtors who gave their customers a new fridge on closing day. Get creative, because being generous with extra things will make you a superhero.
3) Do the Little Thing.
Do you send your clients Christmas cards? Do you celebrate their birthdays? Do you know when their kids graduate high school? Just like in a marriage, it’s the little things that count the most. When you do little niceties for your customers, you show them they mean more to you than just a paycheck, and it will impress the heck out of them. It would be smart to take a staff meeting once a quarter or so just to brainstorm ideas of how you can show in little ways how much you appreciate your clients. It will be time well spent.
Take care of your clients and they will take care of you. It takes more work, but that’s what being a superhero is all about.
Thanks for reading. Do you have any other suggestions for taking care of customers? Share!