While it’s the mission of virtually every entrepreneur to grow his or her business, getting bigger doesn’t mean you have to abandon some of the best characteristics of smaller organizations. Do you frequent any small, independent businesses? What’s the source of your loyalty – the product offerings or the level of service and the way the owners and employees make you feel?
Most likely, it’s the latter. Why? Because the majority of small businesses have a small enough client base that they know every person who has purchased their goods or services. In a structure where every client has a major impact on the bottom line, professionals at this level take great pains to ensure customer satisfaction by answering questions and demonstrating that they genuinely care about their clients.
Don’t forget your roots
Unfortunately, many businesses that grow into larger corporations lose sight of the individual client, perhaps due to the scale of their organizations or maybe because they no longer place the same value on client relationship management. And often, those businesses suffer at the hands of their disregarded clientele. To make your success sustainable, focus on the clients who got you to the position in the first place.
Client relationship management is a balancing act at any stage in the company development process. When your business is a startup, you are juggling client demands while managing the other aspects of operations and trying to define who your ideal client will be. As you grow, you may secure higher-net-worth clients or larger companies who contribute to a larger portion of your revenue. Even as you achieve greater levels of success, that is not a free pass to start ignoring your clients’ feedback or failing to keep your promises just because you are chasing new markets and working with clients who you perceive as being more valuable to your organization.
While it may seem tempting to focus all of your efforts on the clients who offer the highest return, resist this urge. You may quickly earn a reputation as a business that puts profits ahead of clients, which will hurt your ability to secure any clients at all. You do not have to treat your clients equally, but remember to treat your clients fairly.
You may segment your clients into those who merit more attention, but it’s vital to treat everyone with respect.