Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Woman-Owned Small Businesses Put the Customer First - Part I

Forbes Insights Study key findings:

• The majority of women business owners have a customer service strategy: 55% do it on a case-by-case basis, and 18% have a formal strategy. 27% do not have a dedicated customer service strategy at all.

• The recession proved challenging for many woman-owned small businesses, but it has made them increasingly determined to build long-lasting relationships. Customer service and customer retention are top priorities for companies right now and in the next 12 months.

• While a number of woman-owned small businesses are using the Web and social media for customer service, many are still not taking full advantage of these channels; 25% of respondents do not have a company website and 24% do not use any social media tactics for their business.

• Traditional methods for customer service interaction still rule the day—such as sending handwritten notes and interacting with customers via the phone.

As a result of the economic implosion the U.S. has experienced, woman-owned businesses are taking a customer-centric approach - making customer service a top strategic priority, though a large portion do not have a formal strategy and prefer to deal with customers on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, a large portion do not take advantage of exploring the types of innovative customer service "channels" that might set their businesses apart from the competition.

I will explore the findings in this study, and share the facts and figures that may help you in designing your strategy for the future. Ironically, Marketing is near the bottom of the priority list - but the fact is - marketing campaigns should contain all of the "top of the list" priorities, such as:

Customer Retention
Customer Service
Cost Containment
Maximizing Profitability/cash flow
Increasing productivity/efficiency

Unfortunately, many small business compartmentalize these objectives instead of integrating them into an overall strategy supported by the marketing that gets the word out there.

... more to come.

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