The first goal of almost any business is to grow and expand, which is necessary to achieve sustainability. If a business manages to overcome that crucial first hump and grow and expand to the point of achieving sustainability, however, most businesses will inevitably find themselves in the middle of a conundrum. To get their business up and running in the first place, they generally had to simply take on every single client or sell to every customer they could. As a result, they were free to pour all their resources into achieving one singular goal: to get more customers or clients.
Unfortunately, once businesses reach a certain threshold, it is crucial that they make a very important switch from pouring all their resources into gaining clients, to dividing their resources between gaining clients and managing the ones they already have. Many a hugely successful business has crumbled due to poor customer service – or a failure to take adequate care of the people who have already bought their product or service.
By not adequately taking care of your current client and consumer base, you can quickly find yourself playing the “gain one, lose one” game, if not outright hemorrhaging clients. Considering that it is 50% harder to gain a new client than to keep an existing one, businesses should always err on the side of putting too many resources into managing current clients than to skimp on client management in favor of sales & marketing.
Perhaps the worst failing of large or successful businesses, however, is when they reach a point where they begin to treat customers and consumers as if the business is doing the customer a favor the customer should be thanking them for rather than the business thanking the customer for being a loyal client. Businesses would not exist without their customers and clients and you should make it a point to ensure that you always remember where the power really lies.
One great thing about the technological age is that computer programs and global outsourcing have made certain large business customer service functions easier than ever for small businesses. Need a call center or customer service and support line? No problem, there are companies that can provide that. Need to keep your own books for a while until you can hire a full-time accountant? No problem, programs like QuickBooks make accounting for small businesses a breeze.
CRM software is also another type of program that can help businesses juggle the crucial balance between keeping current customers happy, while also not pulling away too many critical resources for developing new ones – or vice-versa. Customer Relations Management services and software help small businesses accomplish a wide range of big business tasks, from programs that create and manage collaborative documents, checklists and spreadsheets to offering customer support and help desk features for small businesses.
No matter what size of business you run, customer service is always going to be a must-have and the better your customer service is, the more likely you are to retain a loyal client following. Always remember that your business is every bit as dependent on keeping the clients you already have as it is on gaining new ones. After all, what does it gain you to sign one new client only to lose 3 you already have, thanks to poor customer relations?