Customer expectation can kill your home based business
Dealing with customer expectation is something that few people starting-out in a home-based business are adequately prepared for and it is very easy to underestimate just how challenging it can be to deal with. Moreover, an inability to deal effectively with customer expectation can kill your enthusiasm for your home-based hobby business very quickly indeed.
Of course, we’ve all seen what the pressure of customer expectation looks and feels like, often from a safe distance!
An extreme example of customer expectation might manifest itself as some poor staff member standing behind a counter in a shop trying to maintain their composure while being yelled at by someone less than impressed by the service they have received at the business in question. If you’ve ever held any kind of customer-facing role you can probably remember just how terrible it feels to be on the receiving end.
Customer expectation when turning a hobby into a Business
With the economic upheaval caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic continuing to reverberate around the world, many people are looking for new ways to make money. For some, turning the hobby that they have loved doing for years into a thriving home-based business seems like a tremendous opportunity. In many cases, it can be.
Hobbies, by their nature, are fun, enjoyable pursuits that many people look forward to engaging in at the end of a hard day or week at work. It takes the mind off the troubles of the world and enables complete immersion in the here and now.
For some it might be working with wood, for others, it might be cooking up a fresh batch of grandmothers’ finest bolognaise sauce or perhaps it might be creating pieces of art from scrap metal. Whatever it is, someone’s hobby can illicit passion as few other things can.
When turning a hobby into a home-based business, and quite apart from the many critical functions that need to be performed in establishing and running it, one facet stands above all others in terms of the risk it poses to its’ longevity and success. Dealing with customers!
Customer expectation can come in several forms;
when you are busy churning out that new piece of art or ceramic vase simply because you love it, you may not feel any pressure to complete it to a given time frame. Throw a customer into the mix who has paid you to provide that item, however, and it can be a completely different story.
First comes the email asking for a delivery time, which may then be followed up by a series of phone calls that become more urgent as each day passes. Are you still feeling the love?
Let’s face it, not everyone who inhabits our planet and who might have cause to purchase something from your shiny new business is going to be a lovely, easy-going, and well-adjusted individual.
Some folks feel that the world, including your business, should revolve around them. Many of these customers will have unrealistic expectations around your offering and will raise hell when you (or anybody else for that matter!) are unable to satisfy them.
Take a deep breath and remember that you do love your hobby turned business!
remember that sculpture you did that didn’t quite turn out right or the cake that was a bit too mushy? When you are making those things for your pleasure, sure you’ll be disappointed that it didn’t work out as expected. When you add in the customer pressure scenario, a quality issue can lead to far more serious ramifications.
Problems that are out of your control
Anyone who has been in business for longer than a month has found themselves with a problem that was completely out of their control but that had an impact on their customers’ experience.
Perhaps it was a delivery company that failed to pick up your goods on time. Maybe it was a power outage at your factory. Perhaps your raw materials supplier let you down and sent you the wrong order.
These things happen all the time in business but, guess what? Your customer does not care!
They want the item or service they have paid for and do not care why they are yet to receive it.
You love the product you make. Learning and practicing your craft has given you an enormous amount of joy over the years and you are rightfully proud of the items you create.
Unfortunately, not everyone will feel the same. You will come across potential customers who reject your product and choose an alternative. This will happen even though you know that yours has been lovingly crafted, is exceptionally well built, and is better value for money in the long run.
There can be many other ways in which customer pressure manifests itself. None of them are pleasant.
What is inescapable, if you decide to turn your hobby into a home-based business, is that you will come across customers who don’t hold your shiny new business in the same esteem as you do.
How to deal with customer expectation
- Set expectations for your customers early in the buying process
- Never over-promise
- Only commit to what you know you can deliver.
- Develop good systems
- Maintain your quality standards
- Celebrate your good customers and the people who truly love what you do.
Above all else, strive to remain passionate about your hobby turned home-business. Always try to remember why you are doing it in the first place.
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About the author: Geoff Daniel is a small business mentor with over 20 years of successful business ownership under his belt.
Geoff Daniel Co-Host