Most home businesses depend on customer satisfaction and word of mouth. It is unlikely that you will be able to spend millions on marketing and attracting new customers. Also, home businesses rely on a very limited number of customers or clients, especially early on. Because of this, a home business owner needs to do everything in his or her power to keep those precious customers or clients as happy as kittens under a leaking cow.
Always Honor Deals
At the core of every business is providing a service or supplying a product for a certain amount of money that is paid to you. This is what we mean when we say deals. You are making deals with your customers every time you sell them something and they need to know that you will honor the deal every single time, without exceptions.
As a home business owner, you cannot afford not to deliver in time or deliver a product that is of lesser quality than promised (either directly or indirectly). You do not have a PR department that will explain why mistakes were made and why the customer did not receive what they paid for. By honoring your deals, you will build a reputation of a small but reliable business partner that people will gladly recommend to their friends and family.
Answer any Inquiries Quickly
When you run a home business, you need to understand that you will be answering a lot of questions. This is especially true if you are offering a very specialized service or a product. People want to know what it is that you are offering and what they can expect from you. As a very small business, you need to be quick with answers, almost instantaneous. You do not want them to turn to bigger players, right?
Because of this, you will want to give them as many options to contact you as possible. Go to social media, let people inquire there; give everyone your phone number, your cell phone number, the number of your mother. Make sure people can get in touch with you and make sure you respond immediately.
Never Promise What You Can’t Deliver
One of the most common mistakes that small business owners make is they chew off more than they can eat, so to say. The easiest way to explain this would be with an example. Let’s say that you have started a catering business and you have handled smaller events only so far, parties for up to 50 people. Then, one day you get a call from a potential client who needs you to cater for 300 people and gives you so little time that you couldn’t handle 50.
Not wanting to lose a client, you agree to it. Then, you spend 24 hours of every day before the event, trying to make it happen. In the end, you simply cannot do it and you need to disappoint the client who now has to find a new caterer to do it in matter of hours. You can rest assured that this client will be telling everyone about how you failed them.
It is far better to be realistic and tell the potential client that you simply cannot provide that kind of service or deliver on such a big order. Let them know that you can do other things for you or that in the future you might be able to take on such jobs. It is far better for you than letting your customers down.
Reward Your Loyal Customers
One of the best ways to keep your customers and to entice them to recommend you to their family and friends is to reward their loyalty and to make them feel appreciated. As a home business owner, your means will be limited, but you can always do something nice for them.
For example, you can treat them to free services or a free sample of your products from time to time. Give them discounts. You can also reward them with gift cards that you load with a certain amount of money they can spend anyway they like. If most of your customers are from your local area, you can organize an event to mark the anniversary of being open and invite your oldest customers to come over and celebrate with you.
Own Up to Mistakes
Our final piece of advice is also one of the most useful you will get today, or any other day for that matter. Namely, when you know you have made a mistake, admit it. Even if it is not strictly your mistake, if your customer or client is suffering as a result of it, acknowledge the mistake and let them know that it will not happen again. This will let them know you are honest, hard-working and that you care about them and their satisfaction.
And that is what it’s all about.