Sharing values with customers is a good way to get them to relate to you.

SMEs are feeling positive about the year, but the biggest thing on their minds at the moment is keeping and satisfying their customers.

The recent Yellow NZ Business confidence survey found 77 per cent have concerns and a third are very or highly concerned about losing to their competition.

Competition was a hot topic in quite a few of my meetings with clients this week. It’s not the usual thing they want to talk about but a significant number are noticing that competition is having an impact.

The danger is employing the wrong strategy to deal with competition. Too many times I’ve seen people get into a price war that no one wins. What we did in our meetings was look within and discuss various ways we can retain clients. Some of these were:

Reciprocate

Givers gain; therefore, going above and beyond for customers will keep them coming back. Gifts for clients or pleasant surprises needn’t be a huge budget strain — remember, it’s the thought that counts.

Make it personal Customers like businesses who get to know them and give them a personalised experience. Getting staff to engage with clients will create an enjoyable experience and customers are more likely to continue to use your business.

Support a cause

What is it that you as a business support and stand for? Is it the youth? Fair trade? Innovation or ease of business in your district? Sharing values with your customers is a good way to get them to relate to you.

When selling, use the right words

Consider using words like free, new and instantly, or phrases such as “a small fee of $10” instead of “a $10 fee”.

The Yellow survey continued to note that businesses expected to grow by half this year. Only a small percentage expect a drop in profits.

If business is improving we’re bound to see new businesses emerge or new strategies deployed as businesses compete for market share.

Jeremy Tauri is an associate at Plus Chartered Accountants.

Published courtesy of Hawke’s Bay Today