I called you. You weren’t there but I left you a voice message.
Recently I was attending an event and was speaking with a friend of mine. They had met a local small business owner who provided a service I was very much in need of. My friend gave me their business card and said to use their name when I called them. The very next day I called. No one answered the phone but their voice mail message confirmed that I had the right number. so I left a message.
A few days went by and I had not heard from this business. So I called, once again got their voicemail, and I left a message. I did not get a callback.
Interestingly, a week later I was at a Networking Groups meeting and this business showed up as a guest. They announced how they were looking for new business and asked us to help them by making referrals. After the meeting, I approached them and explained what had happened. The business owner told me they had received my message but had been too busy to call me back. They never asked if I was still interested and the conversation ended there.
Why would anyone go into business for themselves and ignore a revenue producing business opportunity that was for exactly what they did?
Sadly, I have through my experience found this to be all too common. As a Small Business Coach, Strategist, Adviser and Educator I simply do not understand their ignoring these types of calls. I want to believe that when someone has a business not only are they passionate about it but that they also are interested in growing that business. Work performed well should create more business, either through additional work or by referrals. Yet some business owners ignore these opportunities.
Small Businesses can live or die based on their reputation in any community. When they perform well, do what they say they are going to do and deliver at a fair price, they are well received in the community. If they don’t do those they can quickly find themselves as one of the approximate 90% of businesses that fail.
Good Customer Service will give your business three things:
- Predictable Customer Loyalty
- Added Goodwill Value
- An Opportunity for Upselling
When you don’t practice Good Customer Service, your business will not only lose out on the present sale opportunity, you may well lose out on future sales opportunities. It all starts before your first contact with a potential customer.
Your business reputation begins with three things:
- What others think of you,
- how you treat those who are not yet customers,
- and how you present your product or services.
Being too busy to meet with or talk to a potential customer is not how you develop a positive reputation or relationship. Even if you are a business of one, making the time every day to contact, follow up and meet with potential new customers is critical to the growth and survivability of your business.
This means planning. Planning each and every day, each and every week to allow for:
- New business development,
- Follow-up with prospective customers,
- and mindful follow-up with existing or past customers.
Some business owners are not certain how to go about planning for these activities. Some simply make a list, stick the list by a computer, in their wallet or purse, in a notebook or some other place where, if not reviewed, it is lost and forgotten.
A simple step is somewhat old fashioned but works. That is the old fashioned personal paper calendar. I know many of us are accustomed to using our smartphones and the scheduling features they have. Yet, this paper calendar is a perfect tool for planning your day, week, a month for all of the necessary business activities you must undertake to grow your business.
Simply go to wherever you shop and buy a Yearly Planner, they can be as inexpensive or expensive as you wish. Then, go to your next week and block out parts of several days a week for follow-up with potential, new and existing customers. Schedule the work you have already developed around those days and times. Now you have a very simple plan to use each and every day. Remember a plan is worth nothing unless you follow it. The blank spaces you have on your calendar can be for future business, meetings with potential clients and the many other things you must do to run your business.
Keeping customers and potential customers happy is a critical part of your business activities. As the saying goes, “Ignore your customers and they will go away.” Don’t ignore them.