It’s interesting to observe how our behavior changes as per the situation we are put in. For instance our thought process as a customer versus that of a service provider can be quite different. For instance Sally, a business owner, more often than not thinks about winning new deals, profitability and about closing deals when she negotiates a contract with her customers. However when she is outsourcing her payroll, she thinks of costs, quality and efficiency that the service provider would bring on board. I don’t mean to say that none of the service provider care about their customer’s success, but what I definitely want to put forward is that the ones who do so will be eventual winners in this information age.
Customer Experience a key for success
After going through this article you would understand that business owners especially those having small and medium enterprises need re-think their customer relationship management strategy. The current focus on generating more leads and closing sales may not work in medium to long term if they don’t improve their overall customer experience. It won’t therefore be wrong to mention that this article is meant for entrepreneurs, small and mid size business owners and anyone who has interest in Marketing and Sales services.
Reasons Experience is becoming so important
If you are wondering why this thing has suddenly become so important, you will find the answers below. However I will put forward a simple example – Before we purchase anything online, look for a car workshop or even eat out, my wife does a thorough research and usually finds out the best among the options available 🙂
I. Better connected | More choices
We keep hearing that world has shrunk into a global village. This has led to information availability on the go which brings
more options to the customers. Mr X who was running a traditional business cannot survive as he has a local competitor listed on Google and is delivering a better service than him. This is just because customer loyalty comes way down in the parameters which people consider.
II. Social Media more trusted than Brand Names
If you find a business which has been liked by your friends, you would definitely consider trying their services even if there are new or lesser know brand. For me the number of likes may not matter as much as someone in my immediate circle liking it. Thus genuine likes matter much more than the overall numbers. This is somewhere small businesses have an edge over large brands.
III. Very few businesses track customer experience
If numbers are to be believed less than one third of companies have any kind of customer relationship management. Out of this only a small fraction tracks their customer’s experience. Thus companies which are delivering and genuinely care are far less. The lesser the availability of something the higher is the demand and the value.
What it means as a business owner
Having discussed the importance of subject let me come to a small list of actionable which would help you to become customer oriented.
Customer Experience form – Have a small form which you can ask your customer to fill about the experience they have had with you. In many cases online form would make more sense than a physical one. Even better would be to have a simple customer relationship management solution implemented for you. Many of them are available for free. See the video below
Track your customer requests – When a customer is not happy due to something which went wrong, ensure that you call and let them know what you have done to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Orient your employees – Have a small session with your staff and stress the need for having a better relationship with your customers. Explain to them that the company exists due to customers.
Pitfalls to avoid
The following pitfalls and excuses need to be avoided
1. Customer experience is only about user interface
2. Customer experience is just cost & no returns
3. My competitors don’t spend a penny on customer experience
4. CRM software alone can make me customer oriented
Business Benefits to expect
There are many benefits that you can expect as soon as you make your customers feel worthwhile. I have listed them in the order which I personally feel is important.
Finally we are all human and need to communicate and know each other. How often do you recognize your repeat customers by name or know any further detail about them? Once they feel that they are being considered, they will open up and communicate, tag, speak about you.
If your product is good and your service exceeds that of your competitor people, you have already built a high entry barrier for your competition.
Lesser Sales Effort
You don’t have to push your products / services, customers will automatically come to you and consider buying from you. Hence your revenue per salesperson would increase beyond what it used to be. In the end, I would wish you all the best for future and I would definitely like to hear from you on your perspective about the topic.