Recognizing that customer experience is one of the key drivers for business growth, many small & medium companies have enlisted the help of professionals to help them improve their customer experiences.
Likewise, many companies recognize that customers are increasingly offered a multitude of options, and are becoming more insightful and demanding in their choice of vendors. If a company wants to be the customer’s vendor of choice, they need to deliver better customer experiences if they are to prosper or even survive.
At the same time that customers are seeking higher levels of traditional service, they are also looking for enhanced self-service interaction channels, such as, airport check-in terminals, ATMs, self-checkout at stores, Internet products/services, and FAQ pages. Who knew? Those self-serve gas stations were just the beginning.
As these services replace or at least minimize traditional human interactions like customer service, and at times, sales function, the need for process optimization becomes a greater priority within the organization. Proactively understanding a customer’s preference and expectations has become a key driver in business continuity.
“Every touchpoint with your audience is an invitation to your brand experience. You set the stage for what they can expect, and if it’s appealing, they’ll agree to see what you have in store”
Chris Cancialosi Forbes magazine contributor.
So how do small–medium sized business meet and exceed the challenges of customer experience in today’s market? My top 7 are as follows.
- Establish the rules of the game early develop/implement, & stick to. Clear concise customer policies, such as returns, refunds, warranty, discounts, ETC. This helps your organization to never overpromise and under deliver.
- Understand that emotional engagement still matters “A study of credit card consumers conducted by the Gallup Group found that both rationally satisfied and rationally unsatisfied customers charged the same amount of money on their credit cards. However, emotionally satisfied customers were found to have charged almost double than that charged by both rationally satisfied and rationally unsatisfied customers”. Gallup group study 2015
- Practice emotional engagement as a key strategic differentiator as customers become cynical or at least skeptical about vendor genuineness and objectives.
- Recognize that if your company offers any type of self serve functionality human interaction is then a 2nd level need, the customer has already gone through your policies, and has “in fact” served themselves, so they require a higher quality of human or 2nd level service when they reach out.
- Time has always been a key component in customer experience; make sure your operation can deliver what it promises on time and in a precise manner.
- Your brand is no longer simply competing with your direct competitors in the area of customer experience, it’s competing against every vendor that customer purchases from. It’s the experience NOT the product or the company they are comparing.
- Learn from that irate customer nobody wants, he/she will make your company better for the next time.
In short we live in a constant battle between competitive pressure and heightened customer expectations, so while your small or medium business will get one, maybe two passes, at customer experience a third opportunity may never happen.
To meet and exceed heightened customer expectations small & medium sized companies need to adapt emotional engagement business strategies as a differentiator, empower employees to solve 2nd level customer requests, position their technology and information infrastructure as time savers, create training programs which strengthens employee brand awareness, and deploy relevant incentive and recognition programs. The results will be reduced customer attrition, increased revenue, and profits.
These companies will succeed in fulfilling their brand promise while establishing long-term business continuity.
Write Mike at: firstname.lastname@example.org