From a customers point of view we want to know that the brand we’re invested in is going to remain in business, we need to trust in the service or product we’re paying for is going to be delivered. We, as customers, will get an impression of a business’s longevity from our very first experience with the brand. Some of the associations we have with quality brands are:
So, as a business owner, how is this achieved?
WEB PRESENCE – so customers can view your legitimacy
It starts with your point of contact – do you have a web presence? A website shows you’ve invested your own time and money into your business, this shows potential customers your commitment in yourself succeeding, no matter the size.
If you don’t have a website, that’s ok, we all have to start somewhere and in the early days you need to be economic with how much you spend and where you invest your money in order to grow. But, you need a web presence, there are plenty of free ways to have a web presence, social media is one of them. Choose a main platform to focus on and use the others to drive traffic to it. I recommend a Facebook Business Page, in time you’ll find the right time to invest in a website and your business page will drive traffic to that!.
POINT OF CONTACT – so customers can ask you questions
No matter the size of your business, you should have a few, customers might not feel comfortable emailing you directly so have a sales, info, hello email address will help put them at ease, even if all feed into one mail box account.
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
It needs to be professional - it shows customers, again, that you have invested a commitment into your business and expect to be around for a long time. This is why converting a google, hotmail account isn’t professional enough to install confidence in your customers.
NOT AS GOOD firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you see the difference? One shows a ‘hobby’ business, the other shows a commitment to serving your customers in a trustworthy, responsible and professional manner. Which one would you trust more?
This is a tricky one as it’s based on the size of your business (or how large you want to be perceived) and cultural conditioning in understanding that mobile numbers are more acceptable than it used to be
SMALL / MEDIUM BUSINESS
Mobile number 075 As sole traders and freelancers have become more prevalent, this is more acceptable but be aware that it might put some customers off, they might not want to disturb you directly. This can be overcome by either paying for a call-forwarding service or encouraging customers with an online form and a call-back service or a bit of text : feel free to call and chat, if I’m unable to answer right away it’s because I’m with a customer and have put my phone on silent/off. I’ll be sure to call you back as soon as I possibly can.
Realise that this will show you as the sole trader you are and if your strategy is to show yourself as a larger business then you should invest in a call-forwarding business number or a VA (virtual assistant).
A landline or a variety of phone numbers to separated departments shows a larger business with carefully departments to cater to specific items. It can also show that customers could potentially be so many that the individual could be lost or be ‘just a number’.
MEDIUM / LARGE BUSINESS Local number – 01603
Switch board – 0300
It depends on the need and the perception for the business.
That’s right – your social media site is now a professional point of contact. I recommend encouraging customers to liaise with you in a trackable format after the first message though otherwise it can be confusing and instructions can get lost by using this as a form of contact, especially if you’re on a few platforms.
Example: a potential customers sends you a direct social media message. A way to answer could be:
Thanks so much for reaching out, can you let me have your preferred email address so I can email you regarding your query?
This blog post is taken from the content on a Facebook Live video I did on my Facebook Group page, East Anglia Small Business Branding, join the page if you wish to view more videos about creating a Quality Brand.