The second blog post in our series of guest articles is all around the customer. Without customers we wouldn’t have a business. How to find customers, how to provide exceptional customer service and how to communicate are vital to your business success.

The hardest and often the most expensive part of business is finding customers, so it’s important to hang on to them from day one. When you’re new in business, having a plan to build your customer  base is vital. It can help provide early revenue as well as develop your customers into advocates which keeps business flowing your way.

Here are five ways to build that base.

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Imagine providing so much value to your clients that they keep coming back for more and more business. They see you as an integral part of them team and don’t know how they ever got along before you arrived. Sound good? Well, it is possible if you’re able to provide value to your clients that they cannot find elsewhere. It’s a fine line — you want customers to use you, and only you, but doing it without any manipulation is the key.

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Are you reluctant to use the phone to communicate with customers? Many people fear being one of ‘those annoying callers’, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most effective methods of communication for business.

You know the sorts of call I mean? Untargeted conversations about solar panels, or building a website, or changing energy plans and everything in between.

But just because the telephone is being used ineffectively by some companies does not mean it’s a tool to be ignored.

In fact, when communicating with your customers, sometimes the phone is indeed the best communication channel for the job.

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Customer research is often overlooked in business, but given your customers are the foundation of your business it should be front and centre.

Often, business owners will put off customer research because, frankly, it may be difficult to hear what customers are saying.

Let’s put it in perspective though: it’s better to hear the truth than go out of business altogether. That’s the power of good customer research.

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Making a sale can be one of the best aspects of being in business, so as a business owner it’s natural to be a little disappointed if a customer needs to return a product. However, returns, refunds and exchanges are all part of doing business.

Many business owners consider a return as the end of a customer relationship and don’t put enough care and service into the process. This is a big mistake — the way a return is handled can define a business in customers’ eyes. It can also be a great sales opportunity if handled well. If you keep customers happy during the returns process, they gain faith in your ability to understand and meet their needs through your products and services.

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Keep an eye out for coming posts which will include themed articles such as suppliers, networking, events, PR and more. Did you miss the first one around EOFY? Read it here.