A question every small business owner should ask himself is, “what gets my customers in the door?” There are lots of reasons a customer could choose your businesses, but we found it often boiled down to three main options: customer service, competitive pricing, or the product/service itself. Of the entrepreneurs we asked, 50% think their customers choose their business due to their customer service. Product comes in at second at 43%, and price was dead last at .06%. We asked our small business experts to elaborate on why they think their customers choose them over competitors. Here’s what they had to say…
1.“We aim to make buying insurance simple. Nobody likes to do it, so the least we can do is leverage technology, information, and service to make the process seamless and painless. The days of calling up insurance agencies around town are gone; we have reduced the process to a single phone call and e-mail processing so a person never even needs to leave their couch.
It really scares me so many agents are still using old methods, dragging out appointments for hours, and signing with pen and paper. It’s higher liability on the agent, and ineffective use of time, and consumers are driven away by this. We’ve noticed extraordinary growth by making ourselves an online agency, and there are several who are doing the same and getting similar results.” –Jason Fisher, BestLifeRates.org
2.“As a voice over talent, my clients initial come to me because they like what they hear on a generic demo of mine or because I’ve done a custom audition for them which they liked. The come back to me again and again because I’m reliable and make their job easier, with no hassle.” –Jason McCoy, Voice Over Talent
3.“My company sells maternity and babywearing 3-in-1 coats and jackets that also serve as a regular coat for a woman. The biggest draw has been the product itself because it is not currently found in the mainstream in the US and is stylish, novel and practical. We also strive to provide excellent customer service but the star of the show is the coat.” –Kat Dunams, Tasku Babi
4.“Our customers choose to buy our high-end salsa because of the rare Datil Pepper ingredient that we use, the aesthetic of our packaging, and the brand story of the 17th Century gourmand Fernando Del Viejo who came over with the Conquistadors to found Florida for Spain and protect the Spanish treasury that was once backed by Datil Peppers. Our salsa costs more than double of most other salsas, but our customers find so much value we have had much repeat business.” –Parker Stewart, Del Viejo Gourmet
5.“Clients choose Today’s Business for our outstanding customer service. We strive to provide individualized 24/7 services for each client, regardless of the many clients we have.” –Chaz Cervino, Today’s Business
6.“Customers are attracted to my business Let Mommy Sleep because of our product; which is literally the ability to sleep when they have newborn babies.
Our client base is brand new parents welcoming their brand new babies, twins and triplets home from the hospital. My team of nurses and caregivers provide evidence based education to parents and overnight support. The new parents usually either do not have extended family help or are parents with little to no parental leave time.
While we do provide fanatical customer service and have an expert staff the product itself -relief and confidence during the most stressful period of a parent’s life- brings customers to us.” –Denise Stern, Let Mommy Sleep
7.“I run a small business in Las Vegas focused on government affairs. It is a specialized field of work with a very specific clientele base, those involved with working with government at a state and local level on matters involving their businesses bottom-lines. More specifically, our clients tend to need something from government – a regulatory change, a law change, or maybe they are entering into the market place and need to know the lay of the land and need doors opened to governmental officials.
In such a specialized field of work, I generally have a stable base of clients who have been with the company for 10 to 15 years. I believe that they stay and remain with the company because we achieve the results expected, and as a company we are service orientated, adapting to meet their specific needs and requests.
However, we also get new clients based off of referrals from other clients – both current and former clients. Word of mouth is the best referral business, and we are known for knowing the critical players in Nevada, and accomplishing results for the clients who retain us.
Occasionally, we may respond to Requests For Proposals (RFP’s) which are issued by prospective clients, but overall we have reached a capacity level within the company that we can be selective on which accounts we pursue, and which accounts we don’t pursue.” –Rocky Finseth, Carrara Nevada
8.“Owners, partners and managers of growing competitive organizations call us when they are sick of computer problems slowing them and their teams down, or when they suspect their I.T. support person might be padding the bill. Sometimes their vendors keep pointing fingers at each other and passing the buck, and their existing I.T. guy doesn’t take responsibility for anything.. On occasion we find that adding or upgrading their technology is taking way longer than it should, and that there are things the higher-level execs or managers feel like they should be able to do but their I.T. guys tell them it can’t be done. It can be because someone is trying to pull the wool over their eyes, or because they’re paying extra for advanced knowledge their in-house I.T. person simply doesn’t have. Ultimately, they come to us, because our reputation in the community is the complete antithesis to all of these painful experiences, and we are eventually hired because our clients simply want real leadership and vision for their technology.” –J. Colin Petersen, I.T. Outsource
9.“Product is the first reason why they come to our business, why they buy our product we are the first adjustable barrel bolt lock worldwide in the hardware market, therefore we are an innovation, the Gravity friendly product.
The world’s first adjustable catch bolt lock, AjustLock solves the common problem whereby doors, gates and stalls get misaligned due to loosening of hinges, and the traditional barrel bolt locks and latches to no longer secure the door properly.
And our company mission is to provide simple solutions to common problems, thereby making people’s daily lives more satisfying. We chose the name Ajustco (A Just Company) because the definition of just is what we stand for.” –Soribel Fernandez, ajustco
10.“My clients choose my company ultimately because of the level of service they receive. I own a Digital Marketing firm that serves small to medium size businesses. I work really hard to deliver detailed reporting that my clients can understand. I also have a quick response time with communication. 100% of my client base has come from referrals from existing clients so I think that says a lot. On one time projects I always ask for reviews which typically have the same sentiment. The high level of service is my main selling point.” –Lauren Edvalson, Edvalson Marketing LLC
11.“Our biggest draw and why people support us is because we returnedthe whole rubber duck industry back to America and to New York where it began before it all went overseas!
They also love the fact that we are coming out with the world’s safest PVC Free rubber duck that is 100% made in our other new factory near Detroit with food and medical grade materials. It’s the only rubber duck a baby should ever teethe on. Even Asia cannot do what we are doing here in the USA!
People will support you if they feel you are doing something unique and creative and making a difference at the same time!” –Craig Wolfe, CelebriDucks
12.“Price is one of the main reasons clients pick Pet Stuff Resale but for an equal number it’s due to warm fuzzy ones. Most of my business is word of mouth so folks hear from their buds that a percentage of proceeds goes to pet rescue. Repeat customers come back because their pet often ends up on the business page. A shelter dog or cat is a model with something for sale, maybe someone’s foster. Their dog can get a low cost nail trim while shopping saving them a trip.” –Pet Stuff Resale
13.“We opened Clue Quest Escape Rooms in June, 2015 as our interpretation of the latest entertainment genre that is sweeping North America at a frenzied pace. You and up to five friends are locked inside a room and you have to solve puzzles, decipher clues, find hidden things and put it all together in order to beat the clock and escape before time runs out (as one player put it The fastest 60 minutes I’ve ever spent in my life.).
I would have to say that people come primarily for the product with price and service accounting for multiple return trips. The concept of being locked inside of a room, armed only with your wits to help you escape, is very challenging and appealing to many different types of people. A team is actually inserted into the game rather than just being an observer, and individuals’ actions have a direct bearing on the results. Add to that the stress of the very visible countdown timer and the elation at solving a difficult series of challenges, and you have groups that literally scream, jump and high-five when they escape. It helps that our three rooms are remarkably different from each other (and other escape rooms) and are uniquely themed, visually, logically, and conceptually.” –Dan and Michelle Collier, Clue Quest
14.“As a professional speaker, I work with businesses and associations of all sizes. And our biggest draw? Personal recommendations and word of mouth. We do everything we can to do the best possible job for our present customers. There’s no marketing anywhere nearly as powerful as a satisfied client. Or as cheap. What’s more, our best clients are likely to recommend us to business that are similar to their own. So we get more the of customers we want the most.
In an industry where other speakers can easily spend $100,000 or more per year on marketing and commissions, qw spend virtually nothing. Word of mouth and repeat business keeps my calendar full, and also allow me to keep my fees down, since they cost me nothing.” –Barry Maher, Speaker/Author
15.“The biggest draw to my business is our customer service and authenticity. I believe giving my customers a fair and honest deal and a personal customer service only a small business is capable of providing separated my business from everyone else. It’s very important for my company to develop a trustful relationship with my customers. Encouraging our customers to share their opinions helps nourish and flourish the relationship. Gaining credibility in my industry to through articles and blog entries also played a huge part in the success of my business. Being transparent and offering reliable and friendly service is the biggest draw to my small business.” –Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco
16.“So our customers choose us for two distinct reasons. First, we’re the only online wine club that covers California, Oregon and Washington exclusively.
Secondly, we travel to wine country and meet winemakers and others in the industry in person. In essence, people want to try these wines that can only be sourced in person. We build relationships that others cannot based on where they’re based.” –Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures
17.“We have many long-term and repeat customers who enjoy doing business with us. There are two reasons our clients love us: First, our price is a flat hourly rate, and we are quite competitive for our industry. The second reason is the level of service we offer for this price. Our developers have more experience and a higher level of skill compared to those companies competing with us. We are able to offer a senior-level guru without exceeding our clients’ budgets. In the end money and budget becomes a big factor for every client.” –Mark Tuchscherer, Geeks Chicago
18.“Securex is one of the top companies in the country that provides specialized document conversion services to publicly traded companies for their financial and disclosure reports.
In an industry which provides a commoditized service, with many competitors using offshore providers to deliver these services, the main reason customers choose Securex is our team members for the high level of customer service they provide. We continually train our team members, empower them to make decisions to expedited service and communicate with clients during the entire project workflow. When there are questions or problems, we pick up the phone and call the client, something that often surprises new clients as they say no one ever calls anymore. One of the most complementary comments I received from a client during a large conference call was that they judge all of their vendors based on the level of service we provide.” –Alexander Zervakos, Securex Filings LLC
19.“Our clients come and stay because they know we’ve been where they are. Unlike other executive coaches, Enerpace coaches all have real world business experience. We’ve been where our clients are – in the board rooms and politics and downsizings and budgets that disappear. They don’t need to translate for us, because we’re business people too. We have the MBAs AND the coaching certification. Lots of other coaches are HR people who have
never run a P&L, let alone one for $1B. Other coaches are psychologists or Organizational Development folks. Again, that’s not what we do.
We coach and mentor our clients to grow themselves, their team and their bottom line. We’ve done it. We help them do it.” –Elene Cafasso, Enerpace, Inc. Executive Coaching
20.“Why do customers come to our business? Because we’ve been making dreams come true for 22 incredible years. Incredible Adventures is perhaps best known for arranging Russian fighter jet adventures. We make it possible for virtually anyone to fly a legendary MiG-29 to over twice the height of Everest at more than 1000 mph. Our product offerings include the chance to dive with great white sharks, skydive Everest, pilot a submarine, train like a spy and more. Each of our high-adrenaline adventures allows an individual to be someone else…for a day, a week or longer. People can train like a cosmonaut at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow, fly a classic warbird like a World War II ace, drive a tank and more.” Jane Reifert, Incredible Adventures, Inc.
21.“Our business’s biggest draw is the unique service we provide. There are many bookkeepers in our area, but we are the only one who provides CFO consulting services to all of our clients for no additional charge.” –Courtney Barbee, The Bookkeeper
22.“I’m an artist and jewelry designer. I make handcrafted, wine-inspired jewelry out of repurposed wine corks, reproductions of my wine-themed paintings paired with chandelier crystals, and other related pieces.
Customers choose my business because I make beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces, and I’m the only designer who specializes in jewelry for wine lovers.” –Nancy Kanter, Sparkling Vine Design
23.“I believe our company has the perfect trifecta! Customers come for the customer service the product and the price point. However if I were to pick one I would definitely say the product. Or handcrafted jewelry has to be innovative and unique and you can’t get it anywhere else so that is the first and foremost the draw. However our customer service is excellent and many of our customers expect to see us at many of the shows that we do, so that strongly backs up our product and we always have striven to keep our price competitive even though we are handcrafted with quality materials.” –Aaron and Anne Vaughan, Anne Vaughan Designs
24.“First and foremost, we are known for the long term personal relationships we have with hundreds of our customers who prefer to patronize a locally owned, family run business. We have been in business for over 17 years in the same location, and many of our employees have been with us for over 10+ years. Our customers also appreciate that we deeply love our furry friends and are a pet-friendly cafe, donating thousands each year to animal rescue non-profits. We also offer unique food items such as our famous Chicago dogs, and our coffee is considered a notch above our competitors.” –Bradly Gold, Black Dog Coffee
25.“A lot of customers choose for our expertise in the field and customer service. We also have competitive pricing but we offer personalized service and recommendations that you may not see on some bigger sites like Amazon.com so that is one of the draws for our customers to shop with us.” –Alex Reichmann, iTestCash
26.“Price plays a part, but in my company the biggest draw I’ve found is actually communicating with my clients at their level. Simplify concepts so they can relate to all the teck-speak, so your clients really understand what it is you do, and of course – always deliver on everything you promise.” –Travis Bennett, Studio Digita
27.“Parents choose SpeechWorks because we bring personalized speech-language therapy services to children in their home, daycare center or afterschool program. By providing this convenience, parents do not have to worry about interrupting another child’s naptime, being on time to an appointment, or traffic.” –Jann Fujimoto, SpeechWorks LLC
28.“Customers definitely choose our business for the products and our artwork that sets us apart from our competition. We publish comics and design products featuring diverse characters of different skin tones, ethinicities and personalities. We’re bringing variety to the world of comics, teen fiction, animation, and licensed youth products; variety in the cultural appearances of characters and storylines that are relatable to American minorities from all socioeconomic classes, especially females. This is what sets us apart from other comic/pop culture brands. We bring the experiences of people of color and apply them to the world of animation, comics, and pop culture.” –Terry Raimey, Black Streak Entertainment
29.“I’m the founder of Radiant Health Institute which is primarily a training school for Holistic Coaches (like health coaches, life coaches, biz coaches, etc). Although my competitive pricing (for professional training) is what draws some clients in, it’s the product itself that potential trainees come for because all of our classes are in-person. This sets up apart because most coach training schools are teleclass and webinar-based. Students prefer to learn hands-on and in an experiential way. Also, our training is progressive and holistic in nature – something else that sets up apart along with our coveted accredited hours through the International Coach Federation.” –Dez Stephens, Radiant Health Institute
30.“We’re a B2B and our biggest draw is we hold the client’s hand when working together.
We focus a lot on communications with the client – we’re clear when we explain our process, relationship, we’re responsive when communicating, etc.
And we provide insight and suggestions when we can, regardless if we’re doing that part of work, or the client is doing it himself or finding someone else.” –Ratko Ivanović, EnCoCreative