Everybody, despite what they might claim, is a "brand snob" to some degree: They choose a specific brand because they think it does a better job than competitors can do. Some people might use a certain kind of laundry detergent because it fights stains better, while others might only drink a specific brand of coffee. Even the person reading this has a certain brand that they stay loyal to. But what causes brand loyalty? As a small business owner, this isn't just an idle thought, it's the lifeblood of your business. You want to develop a following and have customers that are brand snobs when it comes to your company...but the question is, how can you achieve that?
Build New Relationships in a Less-Traditional Way
Do you know what lead generation means? To put it simply, lead generation involves making new connections through the internet using various tactics. Through lead generation, you can quickly drive traffic to your website and make new contacts in only a short time. It is also helpful because this method uses content that people are already interested in — job applications, online articles and blog posts, to name a few — and gets them excited enough to visit your website. This means an organic interest in your service without having to go any cold calling or shots in the dark. It's simple and easy, but most importantly it's effective.
Customer Interaction Is Queen
If you wonder why a customer would want to choose your company over one of your competitors, think about the reasons why you prefer going to one location over another. What makes one business better in your eyes than another?
How Customers Are Treated
Have you ever been to a business where you watched the way that employees interacted with customers and were appalled at how rude or unfriendly they were? Let's face it: The customer is always right, plain and simple. Yes, there can be odd exceptions here and there, but the golden rule as a business owner is to never put up with the mistreatment of your clients. Develop a company culture that is customer-oriented and focuses on the experience and overall happiness of the client and make it part of training new hires.
- Everybody's idea of good customer service might be a little different, so clearly define what you expect from your employees. Explain the differences between a good interaction and a bad one, giving plenty of real-world examples to help with understanding.
- Start training them on how to deal with difficult scenarios. This doesn't have to stop when you've fully trained a new employee; make it a regular part of meetings and professional development days.
- Keep an eye on customer interactions and take mental notes. Perhaps you've noticed that Colt is a little shy talking to new customers and needs to come out of his shell a little bit, or that April regularly tends to be short with difficult people. This doesn't mean that you need to give these employees the boot, it only means that you need to change up the focus of your next training session.
Resolving Difficult Situations
Sometimes business can be messy: Orders get messed up or don't ship on time, credit cards accidentally get charged more than once and sometimes you're forced to return an item you weren't happy with. Ordeals like this don't make you a bad business owner — but if you ignore them and do nothing to make them right, then that does.
All companies have negative things happen, but it's about how you handle these negative things that sets you apart from everybody else. Ensure that when tough situations arise, it's on you to develop a strategy for making it right again:
- Immediately address the client or clients and pinpoint the problem. Remember, stay calm. It's easy to get flustered with someone yelling in your face, but this is what makes you extraordinary. Remain calm, repeat the problem back to the unhappy customer and ensure that you've identified what the issue is.
- Take ownership and apologize, even if you have to swallow back a poisonous reply. If you are in the wrong then it is your responsibility to own that, and you'd be surprised what an effect it can have.
- Do what you can to fix the issue, whatever it was: Exchange the item, offer a discount or anything you need to do to make it right.