You have often heard people talk about looking at the big picture and letting the smaller elements of said picture sort themselves out. While this is a good motto for your general life in some ways, you are not exactly supposed to approach business with the same kind of casual attitude, at least if you want to be successful in the long term and ensure that you are able to maintain that success in a manner that would make you as financially stable as possible. If you want to succeed, you need to sweat the small stuff and make sure that every little aspect of your business is optimized to the point where it is the best that it can be, no matter how irrelevant it might seem to you at that point in time.
We live in a modern age, one where instant gratification is not just preferred, it’s expected. This is a product of technology, of an era where everything seems to happen instantly. As a result, the average customer is going to be a lot more demanding than they used to be. You can see it from the way internet can be accessed so easily from a device that can fit inside your pocket. All of the information that you could ever need about the world resting in the palm of your hand.
A customer can now use this handheld device to find the best of the best. They know who has the best prices, who has the best policies, the best services as well as a variety of other factors based on which they judge who they are going to end up acquiring their necessary products and services from. What this means is that you are pretty much always on thin ice. A customer will be able to find someone to replace you in a heartbeat, so the various companies operating these days do not have the same kind of freedom that they used to have in terms of how they deal with customers.
Hence, one of the most important issues of any business that is working in the industry these days is figuring out what the expectations of their customers are and ensuring that they meet them. Digital technology has resulted in a rise in consumer expectations, but it has also provided tools that can help companies meet these ever rising demands. A couple of examples of the kinds of technology that you can use in order to meet customer expectations are chatbots and help desks. Companies like Kayako help you offer website chat support that optimizes customer care.
The way that this technology works is that a type of artificial intelligence talks to customers and allows them to get any queries that they may have resolved in some way. This helps boost efficiency, but there is often a worry that customers are not going to like the fact that they are talking to a robot instead of an actual human being. That being said, research has shown that customers tend to prefer having a mix of artificial intelligence and real human support because they recognize and enjoy the benefits as well.
We often don’t pay attention to the needs of a single customer. After all, it seems pretty unlikely that just one customer would end up having a legitimate impact on the success or failure of the business that we are trying to run. This is because of the fact that a single customer doesn’t really give you that much value, a single transaction does not provide enough profit to justify decisions based on it, you need a steady stream of customers and a steady stream of income in order to be able to become as successful as possible in the business that you are trying to work on.
That being said, there are multiple ways to look at everything in the world of business, including and especially customers and transactions. There are actually plenty of examples of single transactions completely changing the way a company operates and managing to secure a reasonably bright future for the company in question. At the end of the day, this is a rarity so if you are looking at your business at a more day to day level then it is highly unlikely that you are going to find a single transaction to be as important as all that, at least as far as your net profit is concerned.
A New Way to Approach This Concept
Now we are going to try to understand why, in spite of the relatively low impact on overall net profit, a single transaction can end up becoming very important indeed for a company that you might be working for at a particular point in time. In order to understand this, you must first understand that there is no such thing as “one transaction”. If you have a customer approach you for products and services, that single transaction could end up resulting in a lot more in the long run especially if you play your cards right and do everything you possibly can to get the best results possible.
The manner in which a single transaction can be useful in this is sense is that the customer making that transaction could end up being very pleased indeed with the way that they have been treated, thus prompting them to acquire your products and services again at some point in the future. It is in the potential of turning a transaction into a repeat customer that the value of single customer ends up becoming a lot more pronounced than it would have been otherwise.
This is how you can turn a single customer into a regular source of income for yourself. The great thing about these customers is that you don’t have to worry about spending money to get new ones, the old ones will maintain themselves as long as you focus as much as possible on the various aspects of customer service that would keep them happy and thus make them want to keep coming back to you time and time again.
The positive impacts of a good first purchase spread beyond this kind of regular income. You would also get a lot of good marketing for free. People tend to talk about good experiences they have had, and if you get one person talking about your business in a way that portrays it in the most positive light possible, you are going to find that people will definitely start taking you more seriously. This could lead to a lot more people coming your way, interested in what you have to offer. The growth at this point will start to become exponential, with each customer proving to be extremely beneficial to you as long as you treat them like an important one time transaction to entice them into coming back to you time and time again.
The Other Side of The Coin
Up until this point we have mostly been discussing ways in which you can improve things in your business by giving your customers the very best service possible. While it is definitely important to look at the manner in which taking single transactions seriously can help you in the long run, it is important to know what you are trying to avoid as well so that you can make sure that no matter what happens you will be able to prevent it from happening so that you can ensure long term success for both yourself as well as the company that you happen to be working for at that point in time.
A satisfied customer with give you repeat business, positive word of mouth as well as excellent feedback that you would be able to use to continually improve your business and turn it into something that is viable and highly successful in ways that you would never have been able to imagine previously. When you have a customer that is not quite satisfied with the way you have handled things, you are going to get the exact opposite of all of the benefits that were mentioned previously which is going to be a very bad thing for you since it will have a serious impact on your company’s viability. This is especially true because of the fact that bad word of mouth can spread even faster than good word of mouth.
If you make the mistake of not taking a single transaction as seriously as you should have, you are probably going to lose that customer as well as all of the benefits that he or she would provide and you are therefore going to have to spend a fair amount of money finding someone to replace that customer. You are also going to have to write off all of the money that you spent trying to attain and subsequently maintain the customer that you have now lost. This is because of the fact that you are no longer going to receive business from said customer, business that could potentially have allowed you to recoup those costs and turned them into something a little more profitable for you in the long run.
One of the the worst things about a failure such as this one is that you often don’t even know what happened. Your customer just ends up leaving, and you are not able to contact them again in order to gain a better understanding of what exactly it was that made them want to leave in the first place. Instead, you will just have to deal with the fact that you have lost a source of revenue, and you will have to deal with that in whatever way you are able.
You might be able to figure out what went wrong by noting public opinion of your company after a short while. As we have mentioned before, bad word of mouth travels just as fast if not faster than good word of mouth, so the customer is going to be talking to quite a few people about why they did not like the service that they received and why other people should not give you their business either. This can result in the loss of an enormous amount of revenue, something that could spell the beginning of a very bad time for both you as well as your company.
A dissatisfied customer will have a lot of avenues upon which they would be able to discuss the fact that they were not at all satisfied with the service that they were provided with. The internet is one of them and bad reviews can spread like wildfire. That being said, your customers don’t have to post a bad review on the internet to hurt your business. Just the fact that they are not coming back to you as well as any casual conversation that they might have about your company could cause enough damage to make you regret not having taken a single transaction as seriously as possible.
Why a Single Customer Matters
It is plain to see how just a single customer can end up making or breaking your business. Indeed, the way you treat a single customer could end up deciding the fate of your business in general if you look at the ripples that their pebble will make in your pond. In the long term, the butterfly effect of how you treated a particular customer is going to have a pretty significant impact on the future of your company.
If you want to be successful, you are going to have to take it a customer at a time. Over time if you do things right, the handful of customers that you have serviced are going to bring even more people to you. You need to get everyone that works for you on the same page about this because your company needs to be single minded in its focus on giving a single customer the kind of experience that would make them want to come back time and time again. There is no such thing as a single transaction if everyone does their job well.
This was a segment from the “Daily Digital Deep Dive” (4Ds), one day business consultation for small businesses and personal brands that took place on October 12th.