Category: Organisational Success, Sales and Marketing
This high-performance action is to check the customer experience you are delivering.
This is arguably the most important aspect of success in business today for at least these reasons:
- Customer preferences are changing more quickly than ever (according to data from many and varied industries);
- The next generation of buyers is already upon us and stamping their authority on what they want in their experience;
- If your business doesn’t provide an experience that buyers want they can easily then go elsewhere … more so than ever before;
- There are now so many customer touch points with your business, some of which you may not even know about (e.g. website, social media, review services), that you could be losing out without even realising it;
- It shows up so quickly and obviously now when a business has become ‘old’, stale or slow … because customers ‘see’ so many businesses in very short spaces of time;
- Globalisation of business means customers have greater choice.
Here are the steps we recommend you follow to check on the customer experience you are delivering:
- Test (objectively) how easy it is to interact with your business, including all of the touch points, e.g. phone, visit/face to face, email, text, social media, website, Google, Wikipedia, review services, comparison sites/apps, etc. Maybe even use a couple of mystery shoppers consistently to test the ease of dealing with your business.
- What information, of interest or use, are you providing to your (potential) customers? Not sales pitches but genuine, valuable, informative, usable information.
- What and Who do you provide when a (potential) customer (first) contacts you? Sales pitches? Information? Samples? And how clear are you on what most/many (potential) customers want to be supplied at their first point of contact?
- Test the swiftness of dealing with your business. We know that speed is important to many customers given the busier world we now live in and how time poor so many people are. Holding up a process a (potential) customer wants to engage is more likely than ever now to lose them (and forever).
- Does your business deal with (potential) customers via the medium they each prefer … or do you (inadvertently, unthinkingly) force a communication medium on them? Some will prefer face to face, others phone, others email, others text, others via your website, others via a third party. In future, the media formats available to customers is probably unpredictable and businesses should be ready to embrace new forms as they become available. If customers embrace them more quickly than your business does, you will have a problem.
- An additional point to the previous one is that some (potential) customers will want no direct contact with your business until they are ready. Do you allow, facilitate and make that easy for them? If not, they may become uncomfortable with a lack of ability to deal with you when they are ready.
- Does the experience you are providing give value for the total cost to the customer? The total is the sum of the monetary spend, their time, their effort and their emotional investment in the process. If added up, the total cost is outweighed by the perceived benefits of purchasing from your business then the customer will purchase, and is also more likely to repurchase and recommend you to others.
- What effective remedies does your business have in place to deal with disgruntled customers, especially post purchase? This has to be more than an apology; it should attempt to convert them from critics to advocates … so the approaches must be meaningful and sincere.
Dealing with a customer on their terms makes for easier sales, repeat sales, and maybe even higher value sales. It also leads to stronger and more recommendations of your business. Dealing with customers on terms (accidentally) designed to suit the business rather than the customer is likely to be a mini-disaster as consumers have much greater choice, and are changing their behaviours and expectations rapidly.
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