How We May Not Be Communicating With Our Customers in the Way They Need


How We May Not Be Communicating With Our Customers in the Way They Need

Recently I had the honour of being a finalist in the Cairn Business Women’s Club Awards for Sole Entrepreneur of the Year 2017. It was a wonderful experience and one I would recommend anyone in Small Business undertake if given the opportunity.

Part of the awards process was to attend the awards gala ball, and you can imagine how much preparation goes into that. There is the gown, shoes, hair and the list goes on.

I wanted to stay within a certain budget, and because I prefer to buy locally, I started to look for a gown in Cairns, with the aim to hire instead of buy. I headed for a business that I had been eyeing off for a while only to find it closed in the middle of retail hours. There was a sign giving opening times, and as I am a sole operator myself, I respected that sometimes our available hours don’t always suit others.

A couple of weeks went by, and I still hadn’t been able to return to that store during their opening hours, so I attempted to find their number online. When I called there was no voicemail, and no one returned my call. I also called another business in Cairns to enquire about their opening times and was also met with no voicemail.

Eventually, after a number of attempts and because I was running out of time, I purchased a gown within my budget at an online store operating in a town almost 3,000kms away.

After hearing similar stories recently from friends, I decided to share this experience. Often, we are living in our own world, and we are not aware of the communication our potential customers need to feel inclined to buy from us.

Personally, I am quite persistent when I want to do something, and because of that, I made several attempts to connect with a local business that could help me. Many people are not that persistent and will be carried away very quickly by the next shiny thing or solution that comes along.

There are also people that want to feel comfortable to do business with you, and they feel more comfortable if they are able to connect with you, or if they are given the information they need. They will purchase from a business that gives them this.

We are living in a very fast paced society where we are often looking for the easiest solution. So, it’s important that we learn to give people what they need and make it easy for them before they move onto another business that does.

Give options.

No one can be expected to work in their business 24/7, but it is important that you show your potential customers that you want their business. No matter what your selected trading times, it is essential that you give your customers other options to contact you. Display this wherever they would normally do business with you; whether it is a shop front, office, factory or website and ensure it can be easily seen. You can do this either by displaying an email address or a contact number.

Have a voice mail.

I am quite amazed by how many small businesses still don’t have a voicemail, and a potential customer is met with either voice to text or silence. The amount a business pays for voicemail is tiny compared to the amount of business it can bring through the door. In my case, the business lost a potential customer, and I probably won’t attempt to go there in the future because it’s too hard, which is a shame. A friendly and professional voicemail works wonders in helping your customer connect with you, and they will feel more inclined to wait instead of going elsewhere.

Return missed calls.

Often those missed calls are marketing calls, and I get that. The thing is, you can never be completely sure if the call was from a potential customer, or if your voicemail is working or not. It’s important to return those missed calls because it shows you want their business and gives you a chance to connect with the person who called.

These three points may sound very basic to many people, but I feel it is often the simple and basic things that are forgotten and especially so in my experience. Always put yourself in your customers’ shoes, make it easy for them. Consider what they want and need to buy from you and you can’t go wrong.

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