The public face of your company is determined by a number of factors; your employees, your storefront, your customer service policies and your offerings. Each of these contributes to the overall impression your customers will have of your business. If even one of these is lacking you can be sure that it will have a negative impact on your longterm success. Whether you're just starting out in business or have been operating for years, it's important to periodically review each of these components and be sure that they are projecting the image that you'd like your business to have.
First, you need to offer a quality product or service that your customers need or want. You probably came up with that before you even decided to open your own business, but you need to effectively market your offerings so that potential customers know what you have and why they should want it. For more marketing tips read our previous post here.
Once you've attracted your customer's attention you need to create a favorable impression with your storefront. If you have a brick and mortar location make sure that it is clean, well lit and inviting. Remember first impressions start before your customers even reach your front door so don't neglect the parking lot, sidewalk and outside of your building. Inside, keep your store clean and easy to navigate. If you have a website or other online presence make sure that it is aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate as well. It can be tempting to try to share lots of information on your homepage but you run the risk of overwhelming visitors and losing their attention before they find what they were looking for. Remember that many users access the web via mobile devices these days so be sure that your site scales so that it is easy to view on smaller screens. For more tips on creating an online community click here. For some ideas on how to increase the appeal of visiting your physical location check out this post on customer appreciation.
Your employees and the way that they interact with your customers will have a huge impact on whether they return to your business or not. Yes, everyone has a bad day now and then but it is important for employees to be cheerful and willing to help when customers come in. When a customer feels as though they are inconveniencing your employees by stopping in they will be less likely to return. If employees seem disinterested in helping them or worse, have a bad attitude when dealing with customers you can be sure they will take their business elsewhere. Reinforce your customer service standards and what you expect from your employees. Set clear expectations and establish consequences for employees who fail to meet them. Superior customer service will bring your customers back time and time again and will likely generate word of mouth advertising as they tell their friends about your business.
The last part of this puzzle is your customer service after the sale. Always stand behind your products and offer support should a customer have an issue. If you do all these things you'll be on your way to creating a successful business that you can be proud of.
Remember that, for many people, the public face of your company is how they form their impression of your business. This is what leads them to believe whether your business is reputable and worthy of their patronage. You can have a great business plan and a fantastic product but if you can't create a good impression with the public you'll find that success eludes you and you struggle to stay in business.
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