Customer POV: 3 Steps to Choosing the Right Business for the Job
By Ruth Juni
I’m a huge fan of small businesses, and while I don’t own one, I’ve worked with many small businesses for both personal and professional needs. I typically will reach out to a small business when I have a service that needs to be performed. Whether that’s getting my A/C or garage door fixed to getting a new animated video created for work – I will usually evaluate a business based on 3 things.
1. Good reviews and referrals
The first thing I look at after determining if they provide the service I’m looking for, is the quality of their service. For this I leverage customer reviews and 3rd party reviews, if there are any. Sometimes I’ve found companies that are listed at the top of a search page with less than stellar reviews, so I keep looking.
Beyond the actual ratings, I’ll actually go in and read as many customer reviews as possible. Of course you can’t always please everyone, so I try to take into account how bad the bad experiences are.
If you are a small business, getting reviews from your customers is a great way to grow your customer base. I usually turn to 3rd party services like Yelp, Google Reviews or the Better Business Bureau.
Hearing about a small business from a trusted friend is the next place I go. I trust my friends because they know exactly what I need and I know they will not steer me wrong.
When I was planning for my wedding, I leveraged many referrals from friends who were also getting married in the same year. Since I was trying to finish my graduate degree, I didn’t have time to research and interview businesses for my flowers, photos and music. By getting referrals from friends, I was able to quickly make a decision on which businesses to move forward with and that made the wedding planning easy peasy.
2. Does it fit within my budget?
The next step I take in choosing the right business for the job is whether or not they are priced within my budget. To know this, I usually reach out to a few companies to get proposals or quotes and compare the services being offered. I’ve sometimes moved forward with a company priced higher than others because they had great reviews.
If you’re a small business, making it easy to understand what services you offer and what differentiates your business, will come a long way in helping customers determine if you’re a good fit for their needs. Comparison charts are a great way to easily compare services and pricing.
3. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
The final criteria I have for moving forward with a business is seeing how responsive they are. You’d be surprised how many companies I’ve reached out to online or left messages with, only to get zero response. ZERO! Maybe the business has all the customers it needs or is too busy that day to return a response, but even a courtesy call or email to let me know they’ve gotten my message is enough to at least keep me interested.
Just recently I reached out to about 4 businesses to get quotes on a video and only 2 responded. One of those 2 was almost guaranteed my business assuming they met the above 2 criteria (good reviews, within budget). To not even respond seems like such an easy way to miss out on opportunities. Add that up over and over again and that’s a lot of lost customers and lost revenue. I’ve heard the phrase, “I guess they don’t want my business” too many times to count.
Luckily, technology makes it easier these days for small businesses to follow up. Look at the new follow-up app, Peachee. It connects to your email so you can manage all of your follow up from one place. No more lost opportunities. The app helps you create follow up reminders and schedule emails and phone calls so you can easily reach out to customers and keep those relationships blossoming. It reminds you to respond to emails or to reach out to customers who you emailed a few days ago and haven’t heard from.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the follow-up. It makes me feel like the business wants my business!