Celebrating the people behind British small businesses
 

How to thrive as a local SME

The use of aggressive sales tactics has always been a major bugbear with genuine business owners who prefer to build customer loyalty through fair pricing of their products. Taking liberties with customers by charging extortionate amounts of money for the work they do is not a sure-fire way to help build customer loyalty and keep the revenue coming in.

Today, in business, reputation is everything. Customers have the power to make or break a new business. From the reviews they submit to online business directories such as FreeIndex and comments they post on social media platforms, to word-of-mouth opinions exchanged with family and friends.

The importance of customer service

It’s always important for businesses to build a rapport with clients before every job. If a client is going to be investing thousands of pounds on a product or a service, the customer should get exactly what they want and require.

It is therefore important to develop a strong customer base by delivering a level of service that is unique to you and beats anything offered by your competitors in your area and further afield. The way you treat your customers reflects the growth of your business.

The way you treat existing customers is also important. Expanding on the level of service you provide builds customer loyalty and ensures that reviews are of an excellent standard. It can also aid in acquiring new customers through positive feedback to their family and friends. This level of individual customer service can turn a one-time customer into a lifelong customer and ambassador of your business.

Build rapport with your clients

Never underestimate the power of engagement when it comes to your customers, and never be afraid to let people know about the good work you do. This enables you to display what your business does and generates exposure.  Utilizing all web and social media platforms in order to connect with your customers can lead to amazing benefits for your business. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Website

The importance of a simple, sleek website that clearly offers the information that your clients may be looking for can never be underestimated.

No matter what type of business you have, you will most likely have an online presence of some description. But as the majority of sales and leads now come from online sources, it is important to pay close attention to your website.

First impressions count, so when a potential customer first visits company’s website be sure to clearly display what your business is, what your business does and your product offerings. This will make sure that their experience is enjoyable and as easy as possible.

2. Blog

Be passionate about who you are and what you do – it goes a long way. It’s infectious: if your customer is looking for a particular product or service and stumbles upon your blog, they will be passionate about your product too.

Provide insights into the work you do, no matter what it is, whether it be in the local area or nationwide, company news such as successes at events, or more interactive content such as location or industry-specific quizzes. It’s a positive way to gain an audience.

A regularly updated blog is a resource that allows you to keep customers up to date with your activities, and it reflects the human side of your business.

3. Social media

An effective social media presence is particularly important in building rapport with existing and potential customers as well as displaying the quality of work you do.

A social media presence on networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest shows an interest in the work you carry out for your clients and it enables more avenues of interaction. Take Twitter as an example: interacting with your local community enables you to keep in touch with your client base and encounter new customers.

The nature of the interaction is also important; if the interaction is conducted in a way that builds genuine rapport with existing and potential customers then it will undoubtedly be a success. This kind of interaction cannot be matched if you outsource your social media responsibilities to an external company.

The key to growing a successful business as a local SME is to put your focus on customer service. Great customer service is infectious – a happy customer will come back for repeat business and will attract more business for you, in turn promoting a healthy, thriving revenue stream.

 

By Wayne Shaw, Managing Director of The Window Company