Startup mistakes that can ruin customer relationship

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Startup mistakes that can ruin customer relationship

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A good product to start with. Good marketing. Great logistics. Three ingredients that you need to perfect as a startup. And it’s not an easy mix to perfect. Even if you do get it right, your success is not ensured yet – unless you work on maintaining your customer relationship. 

Customer-focused approach rather than money-focused approach can save startups from an early ruin. Often, the stress and growing pain that your startup goes through make your customers suffer because things can go wrong in between and you fail to realize that your customers sustain your business in the long run.

Here’s how things can go wrong, and how you can avoid the mistakes.

 

Failure to communicate effectively

 Be it within the team or outside, miscommunication can break customer relationships. When the leader is not transparent and fails to communicate even the minute details with his team, your team will fail to accurately represent the company and its products. Failing to communicate required information properly to customers can lead to a loss in establishing strong client base.

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To avoid the loss, employees should be well informed about the company’s product, and to do so, communication is the key. The channel of communication with customers should be open and clear so as to ensure adequate assistance to customers.

 

Failure to respond timely

Failing to respond to customers in time – in this modern era – is a big blunder. A customer encountering a closed door or a busy phone line may decide to leave. In the age of social media, the response time should be even quicker than ever before. Say you write a message to a business for the quotation of price for some good on its Facebook page and you don’t get a reply for a week; you will definitely decide to switch to the other competitor. Likewise, your customers may turn to your competitors too if you don’t respond quickly. 

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Establishing a loyal customer base is a high priority for every startup. If there is a customer request, query or complaint, do your best to connect to them with the best available alternative to address their need. Social media is an easy and trending platform to connect to customers at a minimal time frame.

 

Failure to plan effectively

Building relationship with customers occurs in phases, and if you don’t plan how you are going to do it, you might just confuse your customers and fail to build strong relationship with your customers. For example, if you convey messages about how your product can solve a problem without defining the product, then your customers will not be able to understand it and will not buy your products.

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That is why everything rests on planning. You need to have your own definition of successful customer relationship, develop measurable goals around it, and regularly analyse your performance based on them. It is necessary to do so because the market is constantly changing and you should be able to adjust to the market opportunities and retain customers.

 

Failure to organize information

Data needs can overwhelm startups, not being able to organize them properly can ruin customer relations. As a startup grows, its customer base expands. Then it becomes necessary to manage contacts and develop pipeline. Failure to do so leads to business delays. It is embarrassing when you call an important client and realize that your company records had the wrong number. 

One of the measures is to opt for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software that helps startups to manage contacts and customer accounts, develop pipeline, and keep data updated.

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As Mikkel Svane (founder and CEO of Zendesk) mentions in his book ‘Startupland’, business relationships should be cultivated and nurtured, not managed. Svane writes, “In some ways, the customer relationship is just like any other relationship. You have to consistently put in effort and not rely on the past. The moment you take anything for granted and stop investing in the relationship is the moment you start messing things up.”

Relationships are everything in entrepreneurship and have profound implications for startups.  Startups rely on customer reviews and referrals for their business growth. With social media, the power has shifted to the consumer. While it can be taken for granted, relationships are vital for keeping early customers loyal, leading to sales and long-term ROI.

 

 

 

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Guest Friday, 14 December 2018