Running a business can be challenging. Getting the right balance is really valuable.
In the early days, it is normally about encouraging prospects to do business with you and securing orders and revenue but this is only half the story. To build a successful business, you need your customers to come back for more and recommend you to others. They will only do this if you deliver on the promises you make to secure the order in the first place. You need to get the balance right.
In our latest Marketing Matters podcast, we talk about 2 recent experiences we have had with suppliers where the service delivery did not match up to the promise. Sure, they got our initial order but there won’t be any more – and that is no good for their business.
But there is another consideration. Good service takes resources. If you commit too much to delivering on your promises, either you become uncompetitive or your margin disappears – neither is good for you or your business.
So how do you avoid these problems? Here are 5 tips that can help you…
1. Getting the balance right
It may sound obvious but if you say you will do something as part of your business offer, make sure you do it! It’s not just the big things, either. As I talked about in the podcast, I placed an order online where the supplier said I would receive a tracking number as soon as they dispatched my order, normally within 2 days. My order was delivered a week later (a bit longer than they had said) but I never received my tracking number so by the time the order arrived I was getting a bit concerned. The offer of a tracking number didn’t really play a part in my decision to order but the fact that they said I would get one, and then not give it to me, negatively influenced my opinion of the business for any possible future orders.
2. Don’t over-promise
Continuing with the theme of promises; it is easy to fall into the trap of overpromising and underdelivering. You might feel that a big promise might tip the balance to help secure your order from a new customer but if you don’t deliver on that promise, the ‘bad-taste’ you leave with your customer might make them look elsewhere next time.
3. There must be a better way of doing this…
Just as it is dangerous to overpromise and underdeliver, the reverse can be equally risky. A customer may love your fantastic service but if making them super-happy demands too much time and effort and so eats into your margins, your business may not survive long enough to reap the benefits of your happy customers. You need to do things effectively.
You will decide on what you need to do to get the promise:delivery balance right. When you have pinned down the key elements of your service delivery, the things you feel you must do, then try to do them as efficiently as possible. There have been many times when I have been in the middle of doing something important for a customer but I couldn’t get away from the niggling feeling that the service I was delivering was taking too long or costing me too much. The thought popped into my head…
"There must be a better way of doing this...?"
…and often there was! It can be valuable to give yourself time to think about what you are doing and consider other ways of achieving the same result. There may be a better tool or technology that can help you, or perhaps getting some outside help from a specialist is the best option. Don’t forget that sometimes paying (an appropriate amount!) for better tools or support can be a really valuable investment.
4. Think of your customer
At the end of the day, it is your customers’ satisfaction that matters most. If you can deliver real value and benefit to your customers using an approach that is profitable for you, this is getting the balance right, you have the basis of a good business. If not, sooner or later you will struggle.
Don’t just think of your business from your point of view. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and objectively take yourself through their experience. Be honest. Would you be happy?
5. Encourage Feedback
As well as putting yourself in their shoes, don’t be afraid of asking your customers what they think. The mere fact that you ask shows a level of service commitment. Positive feedback is a powerful marketing tool. If the feedback is negative, the sooner you know, the sooner you can do something about it!
Encouraging comments are good but don’t push your customers too hard. Relentlessly asking for reviews and feedback can get annoying – as we have all experienced at one time or another.
A good business is a balanced business. If you can deliver your products and services in a way that meets the expectations of your customers and delivers real value and benefit to them while, at the same time, ensuring your business processes work smoothly, efficiently and cost-effectively for you and your team, you have the basis for a strong, sustainable business that can help you achieve your own goals.
If you would like to talk further about how we might work together, do get in touch.