We always say that bustling businesses are those with superior customer service. But here we’re taking that advice to the next level – far beyond “Hello! How can I help you” and “Thank you, have a nice day!”
In this step, we’ll help you make your business irresistible to current and future customers by creating a “customer experience.” Of course, great service is part of that “experience,” but there are things you can do to connect even more with your lifeblood – your beloved customers.
Done right, they’ll be happier, buy more, come back more and talk you up to their friends.
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR CUSTOMER'S EXPERIENCE:
- Formalize a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Strategy
- Create a Culture (see Step 8 for more details)
- Provide Incentives for Return/Repeat Business
- Offer Bonuses to Reward Loyalty
- Cultivate Passionate, Engaged Employees
Formalize a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Strategy
Coddle them, cater to them, treat them like they’re the most important asset of your business, and your customers will grow your business for you.
Rather then being informal and ad hoc about customers, it’s very important to create a well-thought-out system for managing the relationships you have – or want to have – with them. In business circles, this is called “customer relationship management” or “CRM.”
First, before you try to formalize a CRM plan, find the weak links in your service chain. To do this, you may want to revisit our advice on using surveys in Step 1 of 10 Steps to Grow Your Business. Surveys, whether online or in person, are a great way to collect feedback from your current customers. Also consider selecting a subset of survey respondents or simply a handful of loyal customers and invite them to act as advisors to your business.
Why would people do either? Well, it may be because they have an opinion they’d like to share, and this is a great way to be heard. Or, it may be that they’d find it gratifying and stimulating to help you succeed. There could be other reasons, but there’s nothing like letting your customers lead you to improved offerings.
If your primary contact with customers is by phone, an unimposing way to collect information about their experience is to ask for feedback right at the time of the transaction or whatever business activity you’re conducting. Ask what you could have done better or what other offerings would interest them.
There are technology solutions designed to help you note, classify, track, respond, call back and bill customers, among other functions: CRM software. The beauty of these systems, made by a number of leading vendors, is that you become supremely organized, prioritized and productive when your customer interactions are driven by software. Not to say you’re sloppy or disorganized, but if you’re going to grow, you have to streamline and upgrade your methods of handling cherished customers.
CRM software packages can widely range in price depending on complexity and functionality, but you can be sure there are affordable solutions for even the smallest businesses.
Create a Culture
Creating a culture for your company is about cultivating passion in your team and your customer base. Your culture clarifies your identity, your values, your beliefs and even the products or services you offer and how you price them.
In Step 8, we cover in detail how a culture affects both your customers’ and team members’ experiences, and how that can lead to superior performance for your business.