With August being black business month, I found this to be a fitting topic. I live in a community where there are many black owned businesses, most of them are home based businesses. We generally see few storefront businesses within our community that are black owned.
There is a certain stigma within our community when it comes to black owned businesses. Our people often view these businesses as subpar. They will go out of their way to patron other businesses in other communities and not support the ones within their own community.
It is often an uphill battle for many black business owners to gain customers from within their own community. Customers often dismiss black owned businesses as subpar and often lack the customer experience they would find elsewhere. This is the sentiment held by many Blacks according to my research.
My research also suggests that in order for a black person to support a black business that black business owner must reduced prices or provide a discount to satisfy their black customers.
I’m often told by many black customers that the quality of work by other black owned businesses is not at high standard, their customer service is not at high standard and the prices they expect customers to pay are astronomical compared to the quality product or service they provide.
These critiques or widespread within the black demographic not just in my community but in many communities across the country.
There are many questions and concerns which might arise While reading this. Let me address a few. Knowing the sentiment among community members regarding black owned businesses, black owned business practices, and black owned customer service experience, how do we address the problem?
The first step we must take to address the public's view of black owned businesses is that we must never accept subpar service or products from anyone in any community. We must not patron businesses that neglect our community, Refuse to give back to our community, refuse To display a high level of concern An appreciation For the people they served and refused to employ people from within the community where their businesses dwell. No matter the race, ethnicity, place of origin, or any other separating characteristics.
Customer care and customer service is not dedicated to one set of people. We must teach our young people the importance of customer service and that without customers there is no paycheck. Every business has its own target customers whether you're in retail, entertainment, professional, or whatever type of business, we need customers in order for us to make money. In order for us to be successful, we must have exceptional customer service skills and the customers must have a great customer experience.
We must be steadfast in our pricing scheme and let every customer know that the price is the price. Once you begin the trend or reducing the price, your business begins to depreciate, your brand begins to lose value. There will always be negative reviews despite your efforts to please your customers, but there must be an effort. To change the narrative and people’s perception of black owned businesses, owners must go the extra mile.
Black owned businesses with structure and professionalism is often criticized as trying to be “white” or “uppity”. Those businesses that have subpar service is looked at as being “ghetto” when it comes to black businesses with the community, there is never a happy medium. There is always someone there to remind you that you are black and that your best isn’t good enough. There is someone out there better than you and you should be happy they even considered to patron your establishment.
The journey of a black business owner is a long and tiresome one. It is a journey many choose not to endure because of the criticism that comes with it. My advice however is to stay the course. You can’t please everyone but the ones you do please keep them close and ensure their experience exceeds expectation. They are the ones that will help your business flourish.