Effective communication with customers is key to a successful small business
Small business Communications
“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
Peter Drucker (Management Expert)
Since the purpose of any small business is to create customers, communication with your customers must be a key facet of the business.
As an entrepreneur if you do not communicate effectively with your customers, you could well lose the customers. Businesses use many different ways to communicate with customers and many different tools, but corporate branding and consistency in the quality of the communication can ensure the customers stay satisfied with the business. Following are some tips to make sure your communication with customers is effective.
Face to Face Communication
Smiling is a good key to building effective relationships with your customers. Smile and shake hands when you first meet a customer and then ask the all important question, “How can I help you?”. Finally, listen to the answer. Effective communicators always listen very carefully to what the customer says and then consider their responses.
Communicating on the Telephone
Although the customer cannot see your smile, smiling will affect your tone of voice and will help your customer to see the telephone communication as a positive. Ensure you speak clearly on the telephone and repeat any phone numbers if you have to leave a message on an answering machine. Cultivate a modulated tone and always answer the telephone in a professional and welcoming manner.
Writing a Business Letter
Although many people communicate online via email, there are still times when you will need to write a professional business letter to your prospective customers, such as when you tender for the right to complete a project.
Ensure that your letter is clear in its purpose. Check for spelling and correct grammar usage, as these are essential in setting a professional tone for a business. As an entrepreneur, you may want to hire a professional writer to write important letters if you do not have great writing skills yourself.
Promote Your Business in the Mail
You can promote your business in the mail in many ways.
As with any untargeted promotional material, the main purpose of a mail campaign is to enhance consumer knowledge of your brand and company, rather than to directly sell products, although you can use the promotion to encourage people to purchase your “special”.
Communication in Targeted Networking Events
Usually, you have only a few minutes to capture the attention of the person you are speaking to at a networking event. Make sure that the target networking group includes potential customers, otherwise you could be wasting your time. Entrepreneurs and small business owners often work together and attending a small business networking group can be a great way to increase your customer base.
Have your branded business cards ready and follow the face to face rules of communication – LISTEN carefully to what the other person is saying. Make notes on their business card on how you can help them and when you follow up after the event these notes will help you communicate effectively with your new customer.
Brand Communication using Flyers
Flyers can be effective communication. If you have a retail shop in a shopping centre, you could put a flyer on the window of cars in the carpark. Obviously, customers will not see your flyer until they are ready to leave the centre, but will remember the branding for next time they shop.
A flyer is a short, concise piece of communication that is not personal to the customer, so you use this sort of tool for branding and getting customers to recognize your business in the future.
Entrepreneurs can communicate with customers in many other ways, especially online, but electronic communication will be dealt with in another article. Whenever you do communicate with your customers, make sure you listen to what your customer wants and respond accordingly.
Use consistent branding in every form of written communication, such as letters, flyers, and promotional materials in the mail, so that your customers recognize your brand and your company. Always check the spelling in any form of written communication and approach your customers in a professional manner.