Service businesses are unique in that they can’t just focus on pushing out a product to a target market. They also have to convince customers that the people running the business – i.e. those performing the services – are worthy of their time and money. Unfortunately, not every service business is able to do this.
4 Principles for Service Businesses
While there’s certainly a difference between running a barbershop and running a car wash, the gap between the two really isn’t that big. All service businesses have the same big-picture goals – to satisfy customers and grow revenue – which is why the same principles often apply.
When it comes to managing and growing your service business, here are some of the keys you’ll want to focus on:
- Intimate Knowledge of Customer Base
The number one key to running a successful service business is to have an intimate understanding of your target audience and customer base. The more you know about them, the more likely that you’ll be able to satisfy their needs, desires, and pain points.
There are plenty of ways to familiarize yourself with your audience – including both direct and indirect methods. This includes asking your customers probing questions, using social media to poll your followers, studying website analytics for trends, and observing larger marketplace behaviors.
Trust is everything in a service business. If customers can’t trust you, they won’t feel comfortable transacting with you.
Take an auto mechanic shop as an example. If a customer is going to drop off his vehicle, he wants to know he can trust the shop. (After all, it’s one of his most valuable possessions.) That’s why successful auto centers are constantly stressing authenticity and transparency. Take a look at 26th Street Auto Center in L.A. On its website, the company is constantly using language like “years of experience,” “hands-on training,” and “you can trust our team” to help customers feel at ease. This is very much intentional.
While you might not work on something as expensive or important as a vehicle, you still need to establish trust with your audience. Not only will it help you attract customers, but it’ll help with repeat business.
“Over the past decade or two, the most prominent business model that has yielded positive results in the service sector over time is one that has brought convenience to its client base,” says Tom Cleveland, who has more than 30 years of experience in corporate governance and executive management.
Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t just looking for the cheapest option. Most customers are totally fine spending a little more if it requires less time or energy on their part. Keep this in mind.
As uncomfortable as the topic can be, it’s virtually impossible to run a successful service business without some networking. The more you hone your networking skills, the more profitable your connections will become. If you don’t feel comfortable in this area, it may be worth stepping out of your comfort zone and taking some classes.
Stop Settling for Average
Almost anyone can start a service business, but very few can grow a service business into a successful operation that customers come to love and depend on. If you’re doing the bare minimum to scrape by, it’s time for a wakeup call. Stop settling for average and do what you can to build a thriving brand. The power to change starts with the leaders in your company and will trickle down to the rest of your employees.