I’m the Vice President of Engineering A prioriis a software development company that provides engineering services to technology companies globally.
Running a small business is tough, especially considering that 20% of startups fail in the first year. To avoid failure, you should consider several factors (including customer satisfaction) that define whether your company has a future.
Reaching clients is difficult, especially for service providers. Working for an IT outsourcing company with over 20 years of experience, I see my client’s strategies changing as they go through his 5 stages of SME growth (Existence, Survival, Success, Takeoff, and Resource Maturity). I noticed that.
Acquire a client and pass the existence stage
For the first few years, small businesses have one goal. It is to survive. That’s why we focus on winning clients, providing quality service, and establishing our market position. The manager must not only be tech-savvy, but also continue to improve her soft-her skills to successfully market her services and win the attention and loyalty of her clients.
• We provide good answers from the first inquiry. Improve customer experience with tech-savvy support.
• Focus on what the client wants instead of just providing a service. We listen to our clients’ needs, pains and wishes. We then provide customized solutions for each specific request.
• Earn trust and show credibility. Prove that our professionals have the right skills and knowledge to get the job done, and keep clients updated on project progress.
Make clients your top priority to help your business survive
Companies that have entered the survival stage have proven to be viable entities and are now looking for ways to upgrade, grow and expand. For managers who have already learned how to listen to their clients and understand their pain points, customer service is now a priority.
The client is always right, so compromises should be accepted. At this stage, young IT outsourcing companies may even ignore some of their own interests because they cannot say no to client demands. Failure to achieve customer satisfaction in the survival stage can overshadow your hard-earned reputation and lead to the failure of your entire startup.
• Don’t wait until the client starts asking questions. Even if it’s not exciting news and unexpected issues arise, honestly update your clients.
• Focus on your company’s main competencies. Think twice before embarking on complex projects in a new domain instead of trying to do everything for everyone.
• Be prepared to deal with upset clients. There is always the risk that something will go wrong, so have a service recovery framework at hand.
keep showing interest in the success stage
Now that you’re finally leveraging your achievements, that doesn’t mean you should stop improving client relationships. You will also find that both mutual respect and profit become more important as your business strategy evolves.
• We aim for client success. When a client achieves their goals thanks to you and your services, it’s the best advertising you can get and proof of your expertise.
• Show interest in cooperating. Establish the frequency of communication according to each client’s priorities. Try to keep in touch with clients whose projects have been paused or completed.
• Focus on businesses your size or smaller. Even if the team has gained valuable expertise, it is still not enough to provide quality service to the enterprise.
Improve your reputation on takeoff
At this stage, business owners decide how to secure further growth for the company and handle scaling operations, business resilience, and contingency planning. It’s also time to reassess your customer strategy to improve your business reputation.
• Prioritize clients who respect your craft. A company that understands the complexity and value of your service is not only a pleasure to work with, but may become your loyal partner in the future.
• Focus on approaching clients with a positive reputation and values. Working with a company you are proud to represent also enhances your own reputation. It says it’s easier to do better work for clients you truly admire Not even.
• Support startups and small projects. Helping others succeed may benefit you too. Teams can gain valuable experience even when working on small projects. If you can sign a contract even for a small project that requires the niche technical knowledge you have, do it.
Level up your customer service as your resources mature
This stage poses challenges related to strategic management of resources, people and processes. Business owners need to wisely plan short- and long-term goals and ways to reach them in order to keep their company evolving continuously.
To become a trusted partner in the eyes of your clients, don’t forget to take your customer service to the next level. Remember: This is also the stage where you can choose who to work with.
• Maintain your professional reputation. We provide comprehensive consultations, implement new customer service practices, and improve communication strategies. Do everything you can to be the preferred choice for your clients.
• Stand out when a client behaves inappropriately. Apart from project development, it’s also okay to discuss business benefits for the client’s organization and share insights from my own experience. However, if your client treats you as a subordinate rather than a partner, you need to set boundaries.
• Knows how to end unfavorable partnerships. There are many reasons for ending a partnership. Insufficient financial returns, being forced to deal with exhausting projects, rude treatment, etc. Be prepared by creating a splitting strategy in advance.
Small businesses start by acquiring and retaining as many clients as they can. But by the time you’ve gained a wealth of experience and completed hundreds of successful projects, the best situation may even be to turn down new clients or end partnerships with current ones.
Understanding how client relationships change over time can help you better plan your business processes over time and assess risks more accurately. The only constant is the need to maintain the highest level of customer experience.
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