When you’re a small fish in a vast ocean of B2B competition, it’s natural to feel intimidated by bigger predators. The big guys have massive marketing budgets and enough money to outfit a large team of customer support representatives (CSR). Your company, on the other hand, may be doing all its own marketing through social media and have only one or two CSRs. It can be enough to make a small fish want to head for a tiny pond.
The good news is that even though you may not have a big advertising budget or a large staff, you can offer your customers just as much value as the big guys offer. In fact, when it comes to customer support, you may actually have an advantage. Here’s why.
You can be nimble
In a small-to-medium-sized company, you often have to move like a cornerback in football: quick and able to turn on a dime. When an issue comes your way, you’ve got to keep a grasp on it so you don’t fumble. Smaller companies have fewer layers of bureaucracy, so it’s easier to go directly to top management when you need to make an exception to a policy. Or at times when you know the answer to an issue lies in the hands of one of your superstar engineers, you don’t have to waste time wondering who has the know-how to solve a problem.
You can make things personal
At a company where I once worked, customers always raved about our tier one support guys. These guys didn’t waste a lot of time chatting up customers, but after enough calls over time, their knowledge of the customers went way beyond software versions and hardware components. Had a customer been sick, on vacation, or celebrated a major milestone? The tier one guys usually knew and were quick to throw in niceties when it made sense in the conversation. When you have the same few people answering support calls, relationships feel more personal and even when a customer is frustrated, he or she feels that the support person, who they know by name, is their ally.
You can hire the best
Small companies can offer big roles and room for growth. Getting in on the ground floor and showing lots of hustle is very enticing for A players. When a CSR knows that their performance can directly impact the success of the company, it is a great incentive for performing with excellence and trying to stand out. When you compare this to a large company, where it’s easy to be overlooked, many people actually prefer working for a small-to-medium-sized company.
Make no mistake: the big fish are out there and perhaps they aren’t even aware that you’re in the pond. By playing up the advantages of being a small company, it won’t be long before you’re making those sharks a bit nervous.
Let us know how you use your advantages as a small-to-medium-sized business to compete with larger companies. Do you think you’re able to offer more personalized service? We’d like to hear your stories.