Every business is known by it’s priorities and what it chooses to offer to customers. If customers look only at price and stuff like “free shipping” when choosing whether to do business with my company, something is not right. There are other business values that are very important and actually essential in earning the customer’s trust.
As a small business owner in today’s marketplace this is a daily tension for me. How far can I go in discounting our products or services to match our competitors, and still feel like I can afford to offer what I we really want to give – great service and satisfaction? How far?
I hate finding myself in that spot, that place where I have cut my margins so low that if anything goes wrong and I make it right, I may lose money. On my part, fundamentally great service has a cost attached to it, but I still want to feel good about standing behind my work. It is at this point that I have to remind myself that I can always find ways to earn back the money, but the trust – that is much more difficult to earn back. When customers lose trust, it can infect a business like a virus.
Perks like free shipping are valuable and attract attention but will not always result in customer loyalty. Other business values that produce trust are very important. The struggle is to convince myself and my customers that my product may be worth a little more because I plan to be around for them, with great service, personal attention and integrity, for the long haul.