Over my last two articles, I have discussed what I see as disturbing trends in…
Two Sides to the Small Business Coin
When Small Business owners get together, it’s only a matter of time before conversations shift to customer service war-stories and the most challenging client of the week.
Not all Small Business owners work in customer service, but they have clients just the same. Some work with other businesses or government departments and others operate online businesses where the majority of communication is done by email or automation.
Customer service may vary from face-to-face dealings to operations which rely heavily on call-centres or even good old snail mail. But whatever the structure of your business or the way you contact your clients, ‘communication issues’ cause considerable grief in any given week.
THE COMMUNICATION COIN.
The most difficult forms of miscommunication are those that require an investment of energy that you simply don’t have, or those that consume your time.
They might be complaints about everything from a spelling error on your website, to your pricing or dozens of emails from customers who never commit to a purchase. It might be time spent chasing invoices despite clear payments terms or constant requests for client details to fulfil their work.
In some cases, you might bear the brunt of someone’s bad day (or bad manners) and be treated poorly for reasons unrelated to your service or have customers leave negative online comments or reviews about things you’ve had no opportunity to correct.
Each of these issues takes their toll on Small Business owners who are often still building and developing their business. They frequently don’t have designated departments to handle each type of communication, so more often than not, it’s the one person wearing many hats. And it’s not always the feedback that bothers them, but the way in which it’s delivered.
If only our clients knew how hard it is to run a Small Business, perhaps then they’d understand.
THE FLIP SIDE.
But here’s the thing; with over 97% of businesses in Australia being ‘Small Businesses’, the chances are pretty good that most of your commercial dealings each day will be with other Small Businesses.
So, I ask you, “What sort of customer are you?”
It’s easy to fall into the trap of dishing out what you receive, but if we truly understand the impact that has on Small Business owners, I think we can do better. Someone has to break the cycle. Instead of communicating ‘more of the same’ put yourself in the place of the person on the other end of your phone call or email, and make the difference to their day that you wish others would do for you.
The Small Business world is tough, and we need to stick together. Almost everyone you speak with will either run a business or know someone who does, and the person you buy from today could be your customer tomorrow. Our words and the way we communicate, can not only make someone’s day, but they can find their way back to our own businesses and speak louder than even the best marketing campaign. So, make that a positive thing.
No one understands the need for support in business, like other Small Business owners.
The next time you have a bad week, take note of how you’d handle the situation if you were the customer, and let’s break the cycle.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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