A sure sign that it's the new year are resolutions. From a growth in people hitting the gym in January and February to an uptick in deposits to improve savings, goal setting among the consumer public has a way of making itself known.

But business owners are also making some commitments of their own — particularly to their customers. This past year was one of the more challenging ones for the supply chain. With so many parts that are experiencing shortages and inventories depleted, the items that used to arrive by date certain changed to dates uncertain. This left lots of buyers less than satisfied, some canceling their orders altogether because of the time factor.

If the new year's resolution for your business is to recommit to your clientele and service assurance, here are a few things to be mindful of so you can deliver:

Are you recommitting to your customers in 2022?Are you recommitting to your customers in 2022?

1. Turn to your current workers for hiring help
With so many people looking for jobs, a trend that sparked the "Great Resignation," one would think that applicants would be a dime a dozen. But that hasn't been the case, particularly among small business owners. Indeed, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, approximately one-quarter of small-business owner respondents said filling open positions was their biggest challenge in the month of December.

"The labor shortage is holding back the small business economy as owners work to retain their current employees and attract employees for their open positions," said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the NFIB. 

He added that one of the ways are encouraging more workers to apply is by raising salaries.

But to find more outsiders, you may want to turn to those who work for the company now. For instance, if you have employees who have been with you for a number of years, they may have friends who are similarly committed to their employers. You may want to ask your more seasoned staff for referrals or offer certain bonuses to them if the people they recommend join the company and remain aboard for a proscribed period.  A key component to strengthening the supply chain is to increase productivity.

2. Don't make promises you can't keep
When you say that your customers' satisfaction is guaranteed, they're 100% relying on you coming through for them. But if you know you can't, or even so much as question it, it's best to table those assurances. Instead, you may want to provide notices about what's going on with the supply chain so you can better establish and align your customers' expectations. That kind of openness can be effective because they have more context of the situation you're facing.

3. Refine your processes
"Satisfaction guaranteed" isn't something that you say willy-nilly; when you invoke it, you have to know you can deliver because you've mastered a certain process or product. Thus, before you make such a promise, be sure that you have mastered whatever it is you're promising and have a track record of excellence. And in the event satisfaction isn't reached, be sure to come through on what they'll receive, whether that's their money back, a discount on a future purchase or any other commitment.

Here's to making and keeping your commitments to your customers in 2022. You may not be able to please everyone all of the time, but showing your workers that you're really trying will pay off. 

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