By Holly McCarthy
When things start to go wrong with the economy, many people start making cutbacks right away as a proactive measure. This can be quite frustrating as a business owner, but it is an understandable reaction. There are a few things that are within your power that you can do to ensure that your customers continue to patronize your business during tough times; stay positive, employ these tactics, and watch your customers return.
Know Your Customers
Meeting your customers’ needs is an integral part of any successful business, so make sure that you know who your typical customer is. If this has changed over the years, it’s time to do some market research. This will be easier to do if you own a small business where you interact with your client base on a regular basis and slightly more challenging if you have a larger business that doesn’t require regular customer interaction.
Survey Your Customers
This is a great tool that will help you to understand your customers and see if you are truly meeting their needs. Survey customers can be as simple as posting a survey on your web page or having a suggestion box on site at your place of business. See if you can find any common threads among suggestions and make sure to pay special attention to your frequent visitors.
Make Changes to Meet Demands
If there are some areas you can improve upon based on customer suggestions and surveys, do your best to make them in a timely fashion. This shows your commitment to your clients and your willingness to adapt in the face of challenges. More than likely, positive word of mouth about your attentiveness to people’s needs will help you earn more clients.
Provide Excellent Customer Service
Although this is common sense, the cornerstone of any business is its customer base. You must show through your actions that you care about them and want them to return to your place of business. It is not enough to simply bring them in; you must make them want to come back to do business with you again. Excellent service will separate you from your competitors, especially if you personalize the experience.
Continue to Keep Your Promise
As a business owner, you started out with an idea of what you wanted to achieve, and what kind of goods or services you intended to offer your clientele. Many customers look at this as an implied promise that you will to your best to continue to meet this goal over time. They see spending their money with you as a relationship and each time they do business with you, they feel they are investing in you and your promise. Keep this promise to your customers and watch them come back once the dust settles a bit.