How to Grow Your Customer BaseGrowing your business isn't a goal. It’s a necessity for your business’s survival. Every business needs to keep and grow customers. Getting the word out about your business and attracting customers is just as important as having a great product or service.

Kelly McDonald wrote an article for Fast Company about how to attract different groups of customers.

Digital Media

Many people will find you online, visit your website, or visit your social media networks. McDonald says to make sure your website and social media pages are welcoming to diverse groups. “People always want to identify with someone who looks like them, so be certain you display a range of representation when it comes to showing people,” McDonald says.

Changes to Product and/or Services

McDonald says to reach out to customers you don’t already have, sometimes you need to tweak your product or service. A few ideas include:

Diversify your product or service so you have multiple streams of income that can increase sales and margins.

Hire Diverse Talent

McDonald says hiring diverse talent is your “single best tactic” for creating a wonderful customer experience. She says, “Who knows better than a Gen Y person what another Gen Y person may want, need, or value? A bilingual employee who speaks Spanish as well as English will be a huge asset, because he or she is likely to understand the culture, not just the language.”

Perceptions of your service are created by a diverse set of experiences. When you hire a diverse group of people you reach new customers by word-of-mouth because your employees all have a network of their own family and friends who they speak with about their job and what their company does.

Advertise and Market to New Customer Groups

There are many different marketing tools and tactics for you to consider when you market to a new customer group including:

Customer Service

Customers expect companies to stand by their products and services. Inc. offers seven rules for fantastic customer service:

After the Sale

The customer experience should continue after the sale has been complete. For customers to remain loyal and become advocates they need to continue to have great experiences with your company, products, and services.

Successful growth of a profitable customer base is driven by a combination of tools and techniques.

Focusing on widening your customer base is smart because customers often come in groups, each individual with a different want and/or need.

How have you diversified your customer base?

Five Customer Service Mistakes You Can FixAs a business, small or large, it’s important to make sure your customers don’t have a reason to shop around. Customers are an integral part a successful business. Without them we would not and could not exist.

“If you think you can get away with sub-par customer service, logistics or any other function that affects your customer’s experience with your brand, think again,” says Steve Tobak, contributor to Inc.

Five Customer Service Mistakes To Avoid

Tobak provides common pitfalls every business should avoid.

Failure to Deliver

There is no excuse when a business fails to deliver a product or service to a customer as promised. Failure to deliver on a promise is what effects customer perception most.

Fix: Always set expectations and deliver what you promise.

Wasted Time

Customers don’t want to spend their day on the phone with you to figure out what is wrong and have the problem fixed. It’s a waste of their time.

Fix: Respect their time and keep communications short and sweet. Put a system in place to answer questions quickly and efficiently.

Create More Problems

Some customers aren't pleasant and it’s not easy to deal with them. “You’d think companies could do better than having customer service people who are like crazed lunatics that went off their meds,” Tobak says.

Fix: Most people just want to get through the transaction and support in a speedy manner while being treated with respect.

Ignore Feedback

Some companies don’t take feedback to heart and make it difficult to contact them directly. In the age of social media, it’s easy for customers to post negative feedback for the world to see.

Fix: Get regular feedback, encourage, and welcome suggestions about how you can improve. Listen to what they say and apply it to improve your business.

Hinder Employees

Sometimes the problems are caused by bad management and bad processes. “The most important thing I learned in quality training back in the 80s was that 90 percent of all problems are management problems,” says Tobak.

Fix: Treat your employees with the same respect you show your customers. Whether you have a large or small company, you can always improve your company culture. You just have to set the rules.

A customer complaint is a great opportunity to secure brand loyalty. One happy customer can create hundreds of potential new ones with a simple Facebook post. Customers demand a personal experience and they have a limited tolerance for mistakes so treat them that way.

What other customer service problems have you come across? How have you fixed them?

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