Taking a foray into the world of entrepreneurship is no easy feat. With hundreds of other startups being created every year, it’s inevitable that some, if not most of them, will fail. How can you make sure that yours is one of the twenty percent that survives the first eighteen months of trading? Start with your customer and the service you provide to them. Strive for excellence and never accept anything less. By incorporating your quest for exceptional customer service into your business vision, you can be certain that the service element of your startup will not be a cause of failure to your business.
It’s vital to a business that you have a streamlined process that details the customer experience at every stage of the ordering transaction from the initial purchase online through to the end user receiving their goods. Any hiccup along the way could result in a complaint, a negative review and a poor customer experience. In the twenty-first century, businesses thrive or die based on the feedback they receive online. Orders not being shipped on time could result in chargebacks which could have dire consequences for your cash flow. At the same time, your social media feeds may become clogged with complaints and negative reviews.
Make it a point of business to ensure all customer queries and complaints are investigated urgently and that you maintain contact with your customer throughout the process. If they feel like you are taking their complaint seriously and giving it the attention it deserves, they will appreciate this thought. Customer service isn’t always about making things perfect, it is about facilitating a response to a complaint that sees a solution to a problem where the customer is ultimately satisfied.
When Problems Do Occur
Although you may have the most efficient processes in place, things can go wrong. A supplier may have a backlog of orders resulting in an inability for you to ship on time to your customers. If you can foresee a problem, don’t bury your head in the sand and give your customers a heads up and the opportunity to cancel. If they continue, they know the score. Add an incentive to sweeten the inconvenience. You could offer money off the next order or free delivery on their current purchase. By recognizing your fault, you will ensure negative reviews won’t start popping up on the web.
The Wahaca restaurant chain in the UK suffered a bout of gastroenteritis that infected over a hundred customers and staff. They reacted by putting their hands up, saying sorry, revolutionizing their purchasing process for all ingredients and ensuring that every person affected received a gift and a handwritten note from the boss. This helped them survive and continue to thrive.
Being an entrepreneur and starting your own small business is daunting as much as it is exciting. There will be times when things go wrong. It is how you react to these situations that will make or break your business. Put the customer first and ensure that they are always right (even when they aren’t) and you can form a loyal customer base on which to rely.