ROLE OF CUSTOMERS IN SMALL BUSINESS SURVIVALThe roles of customers in small business survival is what you do not hear so often but this should be discussed more often as the survival of any small business is hugely hinged on the roles played by customers.

Customers should be a cheap way of getting more customers for any business but this in reality is not always the case as the action of some customers are all aimed at bringing down the small business.

In this article, we will be looking at the roles of customers in small business survival. Please do leave your thoughts in the comment box at the end of this post.

Things that Small Businesses Expects From Their Customers

  1. Patronise the small business:

The most important role of customers towards ensuring that small businesses survive is buying their goods and services. A business will surely collapse if customers refuse to buy from them. By doing this, customers are not only helping the small business remain afloat, but also making sure that jobs are preserved.

This is why governments in some countries have schemes in place that enables small businesses grab their fair share of the available market.

  1. Spread the news of a company’s product:

Word of mouth spreads faster than forest fire that even a fire wall sometimes cannot stop it. It is the ‘responsibility’ of customers of small businesses to tell their network about the goods and services of a small business that they are aware of.

Yes, you read it right I used the word responsibility because that is what it is. Customers are quick to give negative feedback but very reluctant to tell people about outstanding service they receive from a company.

For this to happen, the small business owner must learn how to turn customers to promoters.

  1. Act honestly in their dealings with small businesses:

A small business that is just starting up will no doubt have some flaws in its internal control processes that can easily create the opportunities for fraud to be committed. But, it is again down to the customers to play their part by being honest and try not to reap the small business off.

During the Christmas, one of my neighbours received 3 items of gift that she bought. Instead of keeping those items, he picked up his phone and called the company he bought the item from. And that is what every other customer should be doing- helping start-up businesses survive the early stage of their existence.

  1. Pay up on time:

Resources used by small businesses in chasing up debt that have either turned bad or doubtful will be used to improve processes within the business.  Proper management of working capital is very important to the survival of any business and customers in my opinion owe small business duty of care to make prompt payment.

  1. Report any suspected activity to the management:

Just as every citizen are obliged to report any suspected activity to the appropriate authority, customers should and must report any suspected activity to the management of a small business as this will go a long way in helping the owners carry out their management function and keep the business alive and thriving.

  1. Be kind to staff:

Customers being abusive to staff members of a small business are detrimental to the Morales of the employee and this leads to high attrition level in staff turnover. This if unchecked will lead to excessive hiring and training cost. It is a must for customers not to make the working environment of the staff unbearable. Common sense is all that is needed here.

Will you be happy if a customer of the organization that you work for treats you like a piece of trash for no reason? I bet your answer to this will be no. So why do it to others? Customer services agents are usually at the receiving end of customers aggressiveness

I can hear someone say ‘come on Chinweike, are you encouraging inefficiencies in small businesses? Well, as you can tell from my other works, I am a firm believer in total quality but just as we humans needed help in the early stages of our existence to learn to do things and survive, small businesses also have their learning stage and needs every help they can get from their customers to survive.

Nelly and Adams beautifully pointed this out when they discussed the Performance Prism Model. They captured the roles of customers in the survival of businesses within the ‘stakeholder contribution’ handle of the model called facets.

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