When a small business owner thinks of their customers, the same few things usually come to mind. Often, it has something to do with customer service. How can we do better for our customers? What was that customer so mad about the other day and how can we solve it? Are we helping customers enough with their problems? How can we reduce those problems?
These are all excellent things to be thinking about. But that is not all you should think about when it comes to your customers. The thing is that a great business is defined not only by great service but by great customers. We do not often think about that. We think about the quality of our business, but not the quality of our customers.
It may seem strange even to ask the question. A good customer is someone who gives us money for the product, right? And, for sure, when you are a startup and need cash then any customer is a good customer. But over time, it will become apparent that someone giving you money for your product does not necessarily make them a good customer in the long run. Such a thing as a low-quality customer exists. And when you have a lot of them, they become a drain on your business.
What is a low-quality customer?
Let’s say your small business is working with a relatively small amount of customers or clients. They are keeping your business running, but maybe things are not as consistent as you’d like them to be. What you need to do is assess the relations between you and the customers you are serving. This is why having records of payments and communications as soon as possible is crucial. Have you got a customer relationship manager?
So, ask yourself these questions. Do the customers pay their bills on time? Are they good at paying the full amount required or are they making partial payments with arrangements to pay the rest later? Many customers take advantage of startups who need cash in such a way. They become, let’s say, the ruler of the transactions. It’s you who needs to dictate how payment works here, remember?
Is there mutual respect? Are the messages between the two of you friendly? Or are they cold, demanding, even a little toxic? In the end, these aren’t customers with which you want to build the foundation of your business.
How do I find the right customers?
If you are a startup, then it is possible that you are not diversifying your outreach enough. What kind of marketing do you have in place? You need strong Internet marketing solutions with a focus on your online presence and data analyzation. Spread your wings and try to attract customers from different pools. And keep an eye on the marketing data so you can assess what kind of customers you are getting and from where.
You’ll also need to strengthen your internal policies about customer relations. Are you owed money by certain customers? Once you have a few more high-quality customers at your side, it’s time to take action. Don’t pander to bad customers just because you need their cash. Send stern emails about the need to pay what is owed, at the threat of suspension from service. Refuse to do business with persistently abusive customers. Elevate yourself.