Improving the Customer Experience: 8 Ways Every Small Business Owner Can Make the Customers Happy
A happy customer is a wonderful thing, and something that all small business owners should be seeking to create. When you have a great product and a great service to offer, you have half the battle won. Getting the points below handle is really going to build on that.
1. Know Your Customers
With a lot of big companies people don’t really get that personal touch any more. When people move to a smaller company, or a local company, what they are looking for is to feel like they are dealing with a human being that actually cares about them.
Having a good customer management system that allow your employees to make notes, and easily access data on the client, so they don’t have to reiterate everything when they call, really will win you some points.
People like to shop local, and they like to support small businesses. There is something very much in the spirit of the American Dream about supporting entrepreneurs.
2. Identify The Ideal Customer Experience
Doing surveys to find out how your customers feel about the customer service that they have received is vital. It will help you to find out areas where you have been excelling and areas where you have been failing.
If you have specific things that you want communicated to a client, and you are not sure if they aware of a service or product, it is also fruitful to discover how much they know about you.
You should also ask some open ended questions that allow the customer to suggest to you things that you may not ever have thought of.
Once you have done this it is important to put a strategy in place to hit these targets.
3. Develop A Customer Experience Management Program
Once you have turned someone from a prospect into a customer, you want to make sure that they stay with you. One great way to ensure this is to stay in good communication with them, and to be aware when they might need help. You need to be proactive in the relationship.
Setting up a management program that is not only reacting to when the customer calls in, but which encourages you and your staff to initiate contact, to offer help, and to build a relationship with your customers is essential. Your customers will notice the difference, and so will you.
4. Develop A Customer-Centric Company Culture
One of the biggest ways of helping your small business is going to be helping other people. If you are doing something that improves the lives of your customers, you are going to be doing something that helps the company.
Putting the focus of your company in the direction of helping clients, rather than making money or a quick sale, will actually result, strangely, in more sales. People hate high pressure tactics, but if you treat them well they will see the value in your company.
If your customer feels valued they will come back. They are more likely to tell other people about their experience, and you can reward them for it.
5. Reward Your Customers Who Engage
Having a loyalty program where you provide your customers who engage you, with great deals and offers is going to encourage them to remain active.
It is not uncommon for a customer who has shown loyalty to a company to grow dissatisfied with the lack of appreciation, and to be won over by a new company that seems more interested in winning their custom. To have clients who engage and to then not be engaged yourself doesn’t make much sense.
This can also take the form of providing them with helpful information that you have discovered. If your clients are other businesses you can set up some kind of mutually beneficial system where they refer clients to you and you refer clients to them.
6. Engage Your Customers On Social Media
These days everyone is on social media, so if you do not have a considered and well-thought out plan for how to engage people who buy your services or products you are missing out.
Initially, any interaction is better than none, but there is a lot of data that Facebook or Google or whichever platform you prefer will provide. They want you to use them as a tool, so the whole push it to make it as user friendly as possible.
If it is something you can’t commit time to, there are plenty of companies out there that can help you.
7. Make Dealing With You An Easy Experience
This may sound like a very common sense thing to say, but if you try and get a hold of some companies it is not easy. Your philosophy should be all about removing barriers between a prospect becoming a client – why would you want to get in the way of that?
The idea of being old school about the way you do business definitely has merit in some areas of the business, but communication is definitely not one of them. Where is your phone number on your website? Where is your email? Why is the order form buried on your website?
Having a way that someone can track the progress of an order is a great way to allow the client to see that you are working for them. Reaching out to proactively check that they are happy and everything is as expected and going that extra mile makes your company stand out.
8. Leverage Customer Experience Analytics
Track everything. See where you are putting your effort in, and see where the benefits are being reaped.
If you know how a customer moves through your company’s lines from point of entry to point of exit, and you can see where the process bogs down or goes really well, you will be able to learn from the experience and improve it. With no knowledge of this kind of data you are flying blindly.
Unfortunately a lot of people’s experience these days with customer service involves hours pressing buttons and never getting to speak to a real live person.
When you provide your customers with the personal touch, it goes a long way.
Being a small business gives you a whole set of advantages that some vertically integrated monolith is going to lack. You can deal with people face to face, and you can build relationships.