You know that feeling when you are dreaming about a particular product and you suddenly begin to see it everywhere? Like when I was shopping around for my car many moons ago…I began to see a corolla on almost every street corner. Speaking of which, that brings me to my first point.
1-The Customer is Always King
Anyone who lives in T&T can tell you that we need help in this department. It’s no secret and there’s just no way to sugar coat it. Before I approached Toyota for a test drive, I began looking for a roll-on-roll off model. I dragged one of my friends with me to this well-known car dealer (that I will not mention) and I asked the lady who was showing us the different models if they had it in black.
Who told me to ask that.I remember her slightly irate response to me like if it was yesterday, “black and burgundy are high demand colours, if you want it in black you will have to pay ten thousand more dollars!!” Wow! For a used car?! I turned to my friend and with one look he knew it was time to pack up shop and head for the hills!
Notice how this one bad impression that happened so many years ago stays with you forever? I immediately booked my appointment with my new Toyota agent with whom I have remained friends to this day…in fact he even gave me a discount on a brand new model!! As we say in trini, “Dat is service!!” ☺
Even now, I marvel at how great the online support is for international companies such as Amazon and 1-800 contacts who even go out of their way to refund you and throw in a special free offer if you are unhappy with their service! And after each transaction, they always ask you if there’s anything else they can help you with on that day.
We need to take a page out of their books when it comes to treating the customer as if they are king or queen. After all, we have the purchasing power to make or break your business and we can and will go elsewhere if not treated with respect and helpfulness.
2- Find Ways to Attract Repeat Business
It is a widely established fact that 20% of your customers will give you 80% of your business. This is the Pareto Principle coined by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. Similarly, 20% of your time produces 80% of your results.
It is also said that winning a new client is 6-7 times more difficult than getting an existing client for repeat business. So offering discounts and special offers to loyal customers are a way to attract repeat business.
For example, if you have a spa, you can offer a free sauna with your customer’s massage or free accessories with their purchase of 2 new dresses at your retail store. You can also use gift certificates and coupons, but be sure to include an expiry date for redemption and any associated terms and conditions.
When people feel valued, there is the likelihood that they would refer you to their friends and family or even write you a review on Amazon or plug you on social media, since we are now in the age of technology. Believe me, this can go a long way since this can be shared and retweeted and hashtagged multiple times all the way to the bank!
3- Add Value for Money and Don’t Compromise on Price
Experts say that it doesn’t make sense for most SMEs to compete with larger organizations on price. Due to the economies of scale (ability to mass produce and charge a lower price) the unit cost of production for SMEs will compromise the ability to enjoy profits.
Instead, what you can do as an SME is produce an excellent quality product or offer second to none customer service and aftercare ensuring that your customer’s needs are met. This may include extra opening hours, freebies, collaborations with other similar SMEs to offer special deals and bargains or consultancy.
Hope this helps! As usual, feel free to share and shoot us a comment below and let us know if you found this blog post useful!
Until next time.
T&T’s Entrepreneurs Team.