- slide 1 of 9
Getting Started: Appealing to a Niche Clientele
When you build it, they do not always come. In fact, the initial crucial step of customer management is a realistic identification of the most likely target audience. Will your product appeal to the business customer, the leisure traveler or the busy parent of twins? Are your products ideal for the shopper in search of holiday gifts or the family in need of daily consumer goods?
Determining the customer demographic holds the key to a successful start.
- 10 Tips for Finding and Keeping Customers
- How to Sell Wholesale
- How to Get the Most Out of Trade Shows
- What Sells Best on Etsy?
- Become an Entrepreneur with One of These Ten Computer Service Businesses
Passing the first hurdle of customer management -- consumer appeal -- requires a keen understanding of target niche buying behavior.
- slide 2 of 9
Getting Noticed: Attracting Eyeballs and Notice
Assuming that you are a good fit for a profitable niche, it is high time to attract attention. A catchy name, a simple but unforgettable jingle, branding -- and also co-branding -- are just some of the ways you can manage the task of attracting new interest in your business and products.
- Tips on Choosing Your Business Name
- Remember These Great Company Slogans?
- Branding Basics: What It Is, How It Works and Benefits
- Looking at the Advantages and Disadvantages of Co-Branding Strategy
- Business Open House Ideas: How to Hold a Successful Event
- 5 Free Small Business Advertising Opportunities Online
Open houses and even free business advertising are excellent ways of attracting would-be customers who might not usually be interested in your product or business.
- slide 3 of 9
Going High Tech: Interacting via Social Media
Once the small business owner succeeds in appealing to a niche and attracting some customers, keeping in touch with them is a high priority. Fail here, and all prior advertising and gimmicks go to waste. Shine in this situation, and you may just make customers for life.
- Marketing Your Business Through Social Media Websites
- Track Trends and Market Your Business With Twitter Hashtags
- Should You Advertise on Facebook?
- Pros and Cons of Advertising on Facebook
- Direct Customers to Your Facebook Page With a "Find Us" Button
Social media is the gold standard of the hour; learn how to master it and then stay up to date with changes and developments. Remember that neither Facebook nor Twitter is ever static, and campaigns that proved profitable yesterday might just fall flat next week. At the heart of each post or message must be an opportunity for a customer to connect and interact.
- slide 4 of 9
Getting Down and Dirty: Are Your Customers Satisfied?
Do your customers enjoy doing business with you? Does your front door resemble a revolving door, where customers leave but never return? Do you have metrics in place that capture and measure customer satisfaction?
- TQM and Ford Motor Company
- Can Customer Service Be Too Good?
- How to Measure Improvements in Customer and Employee Satisfaction
- Using Excel to Create a Survey
- Example of a Customer Experience Survey
- Ten Ways to Build Customer Loyalty For Small Businesses
Only when you are able to build customer loyalty, will you have a true opportunity at consistent profitability.
- slide 5 of 9
Handling the Truth: When a Business Draws Criticism
Even though you hope for the best and might have even considered a customer satisfaction survey to be little more than a formality, bad marks tell a different story. Are you willing to hear what customers have to say? More importantly: Are you willing to change the way you do business to manage customer satisfaction with loyalty in mind?
- How Do Customers Rate Your Service?
- How to Say No Without Losing Your Clients
- Managing Scope Creep
- Dealing with Negative Feedback
- Honing Your Customer Service Skills
Remember that criticism is not always fact-based. In the same vein, there are times when the negative feedback is really more an indication of unrealistic customer demands. Know how to handle the truth and separate those situations that require change from those that are truly beyond your control.
- slide 6 of 9
Managing Accounts: Keeping Track of Customer Data (the right way)
In the course of doing business, keeping track of customer data is an important means of managing the customer base and capitalizing on future commercial interactions. Data management is also a way of getting paid -- on time.
- Inexpensive Technology for a Paperless Office
- Disadvantages of a Paperless Office
- A Guide for Small Business Owners: All About Email and Fax Security
- Is Google Docs Secure Enough for Your Company's Data?
- What is the Most Secure Email Service?
Keeping data confidential is a must, especially with the threat of identity theft being a constant danger. If you use online data management or email programs, heightening your level of care is a given.
- slide 7 of 9
Staying Profitable: Getting Paid
Accounts receivable management ensures a steady cash flow. Since most small business owners also function as in-house accountants, paying attention to the numbers calls for devotion to details and an understanding of basic accounting practices.
- Tips for Success in the Retail Business
- What Are the Top 5 Debt Collection Software for Small Businesses?
- Improving Accounts Receivable Collection
Automated processes make this aspect of customer management just a bit easier.
- slide 8 of 9
Closing Down: Severing Relationships Without Burning Bridges
A frequently overlooked aspect of small business customer management involves the termination of business relationships. Plenty of entrepreneurs start numerous businesses throughout their lifetimes; close each one down properly, and customers from an old business are more likely to migrate to a new venture.
- The Importance of Business Ethics
- Going Out of Business? Notify People the Right Way
- Sample Letter of Cancellation of Business Contract
- Examples of Business Letters That Deliver Bad News
- Closing Your Business? Use This Sample Letter to Notify Customers & Other Related Parties
Open communication, ethical treatment of outstanding orders and even refunds -- as indicated -- are just some of the practices the entrepreneur should become well versed in.
- slide 9 of 9
Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur?
By now it is abundantly clear that there is more to running a small business than merely hanging out a shingle or setting up a website. Customer management is at the heart of each successful venture -- just as improper practices are also at the heart of each failure. Learn how to do it right the first time around, and become a Small Business Administration success statistic.