Make customer service priority one.
Every division of the company should be trained in the customer service principles of the business. Customer service should be made a priority over other company goals. That includes sales goals and payment collection as well.
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In so many cases, an employee in a division such as maintenance or bill collecting has been taught not to value customer service as highly as someone in the customer service department. This mistake alienates customers on a daily basis.
Develop a Business Plan.
Having a structure and clear goals is something that small businesses often skip over. Do not make the mistake of missing a schedule and a detailed plan to stick to.
Embrace Social Media.
Social media is important for all businesses. However, every social channel is not for every business. Evaluate which social channel or channels are for your business and tackle them full on.
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Make sure that you have the right staff to handle the social media community. Put best practices for social media into place to make sure that the social media staff has all the tools and skills in place to be the voice of the company in such a public arena.
Learn from Mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes and small businesses are no exception. However, it is how you learn from the mistakes and bounce back that can make you a success. In today’s social media world, many companies have learned how important transparency is; when a problem occurs, admitting it, addressing it, and sharing how you intend to fix it are all steps to a successful resolution.
Invest in Your Employees.
Employees are the face of the company. They represent your company and treating them right will be reflected in how they treat customers. Keep your employees involved in company decisions and reward them for their teamwork.
Stand Apart from Other Businesses.
It sounds like a simple plan, but careful planning and execution are necessary. Hold brainstorming sessions regularly to come up with the best ideas from the collective.
Work with Your Community.
By working with the community, we do not just mean helping charities, which is of course something that every business should take part in. However, working with the community also means teaming up with other local businesses to help highlight each other and offer the total package to neighborhood consumers. The restaurant that promotes and sells the local bakery they use creates a win-win situation for both businesses and creates a satisfied customer too.
Pay Close Attention to the World around You.
Remaining focused on your industry alone is a mistake. Take time to find out what is happening in the world around you. Many of the top business executives spend a significant amount of time each day reading current events and trending topics.
Talk to Your Customers.
Listening to the voice of your customers is one of the keys to success. It helps you stay on top of what your customers and other target audience members want. Focus on learning why customers shop with you instead of your competition and also learn why they buy what they are buying in the manner in which they do so. Many record stores were able to evolve to CD stores, however many did not survive the digital revolution because businesses assumed that shoppers came to their stores to purchase silver discs rather than the real reason, which was to listen to music.
Study Successful Companies.
What do successful companies have in common? Look to businesses similar to yours, but also different from yours for clues on how to succeed and how to innovate. Innovation may not come from a likely source. The idea for the fast food restaurant drive thru actually came from banks.
About Guest Author
Richard Larson is author and Brand Manager for Gopromotional Branded Post it Notes. He enjoys writing about business and marketing topics.