7 Relationship-Killing Mistakes Small Businesses Make

September 10, 2013 under blogs

Are these customer relationship mistakes damaging your business?

The relationship between a small company and its customers is a tricky one. While not as intense as that with family members, surprisingly enough, long-term business relationships have similar risks for both parties as any other “friendship.”

The situation between you and a customer can be damaged by broken promises, business betrayals and lying or giving false impressions.

These “relationship killers” can result in you missing out on opportunities, sales or even becoming involved in a costly legal action.

Of course, not every business relationship goes bad or ends in a lawsuit. Many small businesses have maintained amicable and profitable relationships with their customers for decades.

So how can you avoid making these disastrous mistakes in your relationships with your customers?

Let’s run down the list of mistakes and relationship killers:

Mistake No. 1: Not Being Reliable Or Predictable
No matter what you may offer in terms of products or services, your customers rely on you to maintain a certain level of predictability and reliability or product quality. Being inconsistent can lead to lower sales and disappearing clients.

MistakeNo. 2: Failing To Communicate If Things Go Bad
Things can go wrong at any time, as we all know. But you must communicate to clients or customers anything that can cause an unavoidable disruption, a noticeable drop in product quality, or make you miss deadlines, etc. You don’t want them to become spooked.

Mistake No. 3: Watch What You Say
Make sure that the words in your marketing messages (online or off) match what you actually do or sell. As the old phrase goes, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Using hype can lead to charges of fraud or false advertising.

Mistake No. 4: Admit Your Mistakes
Don’t think your customers are so dumb that they’ll never notice the mistakes you have made, no matter how small. This means that when you do make a mistake, acknowledge it, fix it and move on. Don’t dodge clients by not answering e-mails or ignoring negative blog comments.

Mistake No. 5: Watch With Secrets You Keep
It’s natural as a small business person to want to keep as much of your proprietary or business information private as possible. While customers are protective of their own privacy, they are expecting more and more transparency from the people they do business with. Use your website to host all your public business information for easy client access.

Mistake No. 6: Hiding Your Business Size
Don’t pretend to be bigger than you really are. Frequently, people choose to do business with smaller companies because they feel such organizations are more responsive to their needs or are more authentic.

Mistake No. 7: Failing To Say ‘No’
As entrepreneurs, it’s difficult for us to turn down opportunities. After all even the most conservative of business people have a bit of risk taker inside them. But a common mistake we all make is taking on too many projects at once. Accept your limitations and try not to promise more than you can deliver. Focus on your strengths. Use e-mail and other web technologies to help manage your projects and coordinate delivery schedules and other activities between your customers and you.

Now that you know the seven most common relationship killers, you can make sure that your online marketing materials reflect them.

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