The words “customer experience” are thrown around a lot, often due to its importance. While the quality of your small business’s offering still matters, how the customer feels about the entire encounter has a massive impact on whether or not they come back. Unfortunately, for some companies, a good product is no longer enough to create return business. You need a strong and positive customer experience as well. Here are things you can do to create one:
1. Consider Buyers as Partners
One of the mental barriers small business owners have trouble hurdling is their view of customers as separate from the company, entities to beguile or even trick. Customers are not seen as people, but as barriers to profit. This often results in less-than-ideal treatment.
The more ideal viewpoint involves seeing them as partners. They’re an integral part of your company, and to a certain extent, they have a say in how you develop your product. Their feedback will tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Respecting their wishes and listening to their ideas can make them feel more heard, thereby improving the customer experience.
2. Create Customer Experience Specialists
Customer experiences are crafted, not accidental. Your sales staff should not only be focused on handling transactions, but they should also get ahead of consumer needs to make the process as smooth as possible. Minimizing hiccups this way secures sales because the consumer rarely gets an opportunity to rethink their purchase.
You need to train and create customer experience specialists, sales people who are entirely focused on getting ahead and making sure the customer gets what they want. Early on in your small business’s life, you may have trouble dedicating a whole team to this, perhaps due to budget constraints or lack of manpower. Fortunately, you can still start training people for the task and creating a new team once the opportunity arrives.
3. Have Marketing and Sales Work Together
One of the worst things that can happen to your small business is for your departments to work independently of each other. While they’ll still likely come up with quality output, the lack of synergy can hamper the actual returns on their work. If marketing presents customers with one idea of what to expect and sales delivers something else entirely, you can end up generating leads that never go anywhere.
Make sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned. If they’re not developing toward the same kind of customer experience, marketing will feel unappreciated and sales will never connect with customers. Have them focus on delivering the same message and they’ll develop a strong customer experience.
4. Make It Easy for Your Sales Rep
The customer experience sometimes comes down to how well your sales team can think on their feet. Not everything’s going to fit in their script, and if they can’t handle those off-road situations, you’ll find sales flying out the door. Much of the problem revolves around cognitive load. Even the smartest individuals will have problems answering the customer’s needs if they have to hop, skip, and jump, at every juncture.
Simplifying the process is an integral part of generating a positive customer service. With less on their minds, your sales team can focus more on answering the consumer’s needs quickly and politely. How you offload that pressure will depend on you. You can, for example, use a system that puts the pressure on other parts of your company, or you can have more scripts so your sales reps have less to consider.
5. Make It Always About the Customer
The best thing you can do for your small business is to make it all about the customer. Yes, it’s your product, and yes, it’s your company. But a business that isn’t customer-centric is doomed to failure. If at any point in your systems the customer isn’t accounted for, you will fail. If you don’t innovate according to their feedback, you’ll lose their interest. If your sales teams can’t connect to them, you’ll find few conversions. If marketing attracts the wrong people, you won’t even generate leads.
Your small business, from top-to-bottom, must be customer-centric. Do that, and ideas for a strong customer experience will come flowing.
Developing a strong customer experience is of the utmost importance if you want your small business to succeed. By no means is it easy, and it can even feel overwhelming when coupled with the need for product innovation and marketing, but it’s necessary. The sooner you accept that you can’t avoid it, the sooner you can get to creating it.