If you search “#BuyBlack” or “#SupportBlackBusinesses” on any social media outlet, you’ll see tons of love, unity, and support for startups and small businesses. You’ll also find several complaints about Black businesses from Black customers that almost always start like this: “I would love to support Black businesses, but…”
Yes, there may be a hater in the bunch, but are these complaints issues that need to be addressed? Here are seven common complaints Black customers have about Black businesses, and how to make sure your business avoids them.
“It’s been three weeks, and no one has responded to my email.”
Many customers complain about the lack of communication from Black-owned businesses. Customers don’t like to be ignored, especially when money is involved. One way to ensure that your company’s customer service etiquette is on point is to delegate tasks and have a team that is as passionate about the vision of your company as you are. Most times emails go unanswered simply because no one checked the inbox. To avoid this problem, delegate this task to a specific person.
“I never received what I paid for.”
As a small business, it is easy to get swamped with orders and miss shipping an order to a customer. Organization is key to avoid this pitfall. There are many online tools to help your business keep track of orders and shipments. Ditch the standard Excel spreadsheet, and try using Smartsheet templates that allow you to track your orders in real-time. Other tools like Zoho, allow you to keep items in stock to avoid delays in shipping. Simple tweaks like this will take your organization skills to another level and keep your customers happy.
“Black-owned businesses charge too much.”
I get it. You’re a small business, your overhead cost is expensive, and you want to make a profit. To avoid scaring customers off with sky-high prices, go back to the drawing board and brainstorm a pricing strategy that works for you and your target audience.
“I can’t find a Black-owned business that sells the stuff I want to buy.”
Many Black customers would love to support your business, but they don’t know you exist. For example, if you don’t market your beauty supply store, then customers who would support you, will continue to shop at the store that they do know about. I know making your business visible is a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. Maybe think about hiring a marketing firm or a social media manager to help you reach potential customers.
“I never know when they’re open.”
Keeping consistent business hours is important for your reputation. If customers can’t depend on your service, they will take their business elsewhere. If you are changing your hours of operation, let your customers know weeks to months ahead of time. Also, be sure to change your hours on any business social media pages you may have.
“They just want my money.”
Some customers feel that Black-owned businesses are just in it for the money. If your business’s sole purpose is to secure the bag, you might want to develop a more sincere mission statement. Of course, you need and want to make a profit, but don’t let that be your main motivating factor. Be passionate about your product or service, and customers will sense the sincerity and support you.
“Black businesses feel entitled to my support just because I’m Black.”
Sure, Black customers want to support Black businesses, but they also want a quality product. Some customers feel that Black businesses demand customer loyalty solely based on being Black. Customers feel taken advantage of when businesses deliver a mediocre product or service, then expect the customer to accept it in the name of buying Black. So, make sure you operate in Black excellence in all aspects of your business.