The pro AV industry is projected to be worth around $114 billion in 2016. That equates to a lot of revenue changing hands between manufacturers, software providers, customers and vendors like solution providers.
Just how much of that revenue is earned by solution providers is largely a factor of your product offerings and business practices. Solution providers that operate businesses where "the customer always comes first" are usually the most successful, because they manage to keep loyal customers that demand and expect high levels of service.
While the definition of success may vary from pro AV solution provider to solution provider, there are some industry best practices that will help drive business while tilting the odds in your favor.
Here are a few suggestions as to how you can build a stronger, more successful pro AV business:
Earn customer trust
When you build trust, you’ll have customers for life. Building this level of trust takes a lot of hard work and time and often involves going above and beyond—yet it's achievable if you can:
- Be transparent about your products or services and never misrepresent the benefits of a product or service you offer
- Understand your customer base and take time to listen to what they want and need whether in person or via social media
- Provide quality customer service to your customer base
- Make and keep promises by being consistent and providing products that customers can trust
When growing your business, it’s tempting to concentrate on making new sales or pursuing bigger accounts. But attention to your existing customers, no matter how small they are, is essential to keeping your business thriving. Little things like following up immediately after a sale to see how the customer is doing or to say "thank you" is always going to have a positive effect on the customer and may even open the door to a follow-up sale.
Customer recommendations are the bread and butter for most pro AV companies regardless of the market vertical they serve, because recommendations speak to reputation. According to a recent survey by Concerto Marketing Group, when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend this company to others, and 82 percent will continue to use the same brand. Ultimately, earning referrals starts with providing quality customer service.
Customer satisfaction includes timeliness, responsiveness and the ability to exceed the customer’s expectations. Showing genuine concern and a willingness to help your customers goes a long way. The more you plan on giving great service, the less time you’ll actually have to spend delivering it, because, by then, it will be a seamless part of your business operations.
Gauging satisfaction levels can be a tricky thing when trying to put your thumb on what kind of job you're doing. This is the part where a little research can shine a bright light on your customer service efforts. Contacting customers after a sale via email and asking them to complete a short survey could identify areas in need of improvement or even employees who are doing a standout job. Sometimes, offering discounts or promotions on future products or services will nudge busy customers to complete surveys.
Another way to reward loyal customers is to send personalized gifts. Customize gifts around your clients' personal interests, which you can find out about by asking them or even doing a little social media sleuthing.
What methods have you used lately to maximize the success of your pro AV and digital signage business? Did some work more than others?