The business world today is moving fast. Changes are ongoing and your customers expect nothing but the best. With technology making our lives easier every day, you can’t expect to run a successful business if your ways of running it are still stuck in the last century.
Today customers expect a quick response, accurate information and high standards. The room for errors has been pushed to the minimum, so if you want to progress and move forward, make sure you are not making costly errors.
Flawless Customer Service
Your customers are the central part of your business so keeping them happy is the top of your priorities. Good customer service is the key towards increasing customer loyalty, potentially raising your sales and generating positive word-of-mouth about your business.
In the core of every good customer service lies good understanding of the company’s policies, the products or the services and the nature of the requests from the customers. Professionalism is good, yet robotic-like customer service can have a negative effect. A positive attitude from your customer service agents as well as a speedy response is what is going to make you stand out.
Customers come in with certain expectations that are based on their previous experiences. If you are able to top that then you can be sure that they will be coming back.
When a customer sends an email to you, does your auto-reply say that you will respond in three to five days? If yes, you need to change that and provide a speedier response. Also, you need to make yourself available through different channels. Use social media pages to promote yourself but also as a way that customers can reach out to you. Add live chat to your website as well since the majority of customers would prefer to have a chat online than to pick the phone up in order to reach you.
Risks vs Rewards
Risks are necessary for business, however, not all risks are justifiable. Risk, under any circumstances, carries a dose of uncertainty. Still, playing it safe is not going to get you far – sometimes you need to make a leap of faith yet you need to make sure that you are headed for a safe landing.
Calculated risks are the obvious way to go but be careful with your calculations. Don’t tweak the information to justify what you want to do. Look at things from all perspectives, including how much you need to invest and what you can get back as a return on your investment, analyses competitors and the long-term impact your move might have.
Luck might follow the brave but it doesn’t follow the foolish. Be smart about your decisions and that’s when you will get the biggest rewards.
Establish a Good Stock Control
For a customer, there is nothing more frustrating than being promised something and then be let down. This often happens due to improper stock control and wrong information about shipping and handling.
To avoid this, you need to manage your stock levels to perfection and avoid basic errors. A customer might need something urgently but due to an error in your stock count their order might be delayed. Your system might say that you have the item in stock but when you go and look for it you realize you have none. Ordering more items from your supplier will take days, ultimately leading to a customer who is on their way out with no hopes of returning.
Employing an eProcurement system can be a saving grace in such situations. It does not only make life easier in terms of stock count – when set up properly the system can automatically place orders with suppliers in accordance with the set reorder points. It can also look for the best deals based on set parameters and even sort the accounting side behind it, making sure no PO numbers are missed or no invoice is forgotten.
Punch-out catalogs are the most used solution today due to the ability to maximize the efficiency of the supply channel, cut costs and eliminate human error. On top of that, more and more businesses are using punch-out catalogs and they require the businesses they deal with to do the same as well so their orders can be processed properly. Make sure you are not missing out on potential business opportunities by analyzing the potential profits from this source.
Adapt and Re-Adapt
When devising a plan, we would like to think that we will be able to stick 100% to it. Still, circumstances change more often than we want to admit, so sticking to the initial plan just because that’s how you envisioned things in the first place is not going to work.
Changes in the businesses atmosphere might come from all sides – your internal structure might change, the market might shift its focus or your customers are simply not responding to your efforts in the way that you hoped. This means it is time for changes or sometimes even scrapping the entire plan and starting off fresh.
Don’t let this dishearten you as it is a normal thing that all businesses go through. After all, it is the survival of the fittest and to prove that you are the fittest you will need to adapt. To be able to determine whether it is time to change direction, you need to measure the results of everything you are doing and compare them to what you were hoping to achieve. If the results are far off, it is time to rethink your strategy – and there is nothing wrong with that.
The modern business owners are clearly under a lot of pressure due to the saturated markets and high competition. Don’t let this stop you! If you are determined to succeed then you will – just be smart about your decisions and prioritize the right things. Understand that your business is a live matter moved and shaped by your decisions and the satisfaction of the customers – only then you will realize that running a successful business is not a sprint – it is a marathon.
Melissa Stanley is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies so far. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is Client Service Manager of PCGT – PunchOut Catalogs.