In an article titled How You Treat Your Smallest Customers Is What Matters, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Dave Lavinsky shares the story of a small company in London that needed printing services but could not get any of the big printing houses to help them.
The company eventually settled with the one small printing house that agreed to take them as a client. Over the years, as that small company grew and became hugely successful, the vendors that previously snubbed it desperately tried to get their business, with no luck—they stayed loyal to their small printer.
Any chance your sales team is snubbing similar small accounts with huge potential? In this post, we’ll share four reasons why you should treat smaller clients just as well as you treat your bigger customers.
What snubbing looks like
When it comes to handling small accounts, is your sales team guilty of any of the disrespectful behaviors below? If so, it means you’re snubbing these smaller clients.
Behavior 1: Missing deadlines
Failing to meet a deadline set with a smaller client sends a clear message: they’re not that important.
Behavior 2: Delivering sub-par service
Providing inferior quality service to a small account hurts your integrity and leads to bad reviews.
Behavior 3: Making them wait
Putting smaller clients’ calls on hold, taking too long to follow up, or not following up at all is a clear sign of disrespect that drives customers away.
Reasons for valuing small accounts
Underestimating small accounts can be a huge and costly mistake. Here’s why:
1. Small accounts can become big accounts
As in the story mentioned earlier, a small customer can become a big customer within a relatively short time. If your follow-up with them has been poor, they’ll have no reason to want to continue doing business with you when they start getting poached by competitors.
2. Small business owners may be influential
That small account you’ve been neglecting for months might be the enterprise of a charismatic CEO with a huge LinkedIn following, or of a key member of the Chamber of Commerce. They could (and probably will) talk about their experience with their peers. What they say could lead to more business if they enjoy working with you.
3. Your integrity is on the line
“When you treat your smaller customers with a lesser level of service you are not only disrespecting that customer, you are breaking your business systems and allowing bad habits to form,” writes Levinsky.
In his view, that’s a key reason not to slack or deliver less to a small account. When you commit to always delivering work that’s consistent with your excellence and your values, your integrity stays intact.
4. It builds customer loyalty
When you treat big and small accounts with the same level of care, you show the world (or at least an industry) that all your clients matter. This paves the way for strong customer loyalty and all its wonderful advantages, including the positive reviews and referrals that come with it.
Nurturing small accounts is worth it
True, small accounts can at times take up more time than they financially merit. But treating smaller customers with the same level of respect and care as you treat bigger clients is important.
It’s about more than just money; it’s about keeping your standards high and your integrity intact. Besides, your small accounts might have more potential and impact than you think.
So if you or your team haven’t been handling small accounts as well as you should, consider changing that. (But make sure you improve things based on their feedback!)
By taking the time to listen to and get to know your smaller clients, you’ll be showing that you truly value their business, which can convert them not only into loyal customers but also strong referral partners for your business.