What is the most important part of your business? Here’s a hint. It doesn’t matter what you do, who you are, or what your services and products are.
What is it? The lifeblood of your business is your clients and customers.
Are you providing them with the best experience you can offer?
The customer experience as a marketing strategy is nothing new. I mean, the bottom line is very few businesses survive very long if they cheat or lie to their customers. We all know customers are people like you and me, so we don’t treat them like they’re foolish or stupid.
We all know poor customer service can be the flatlining your customer’s relationship with you.
We also know we need to be ready for feedback from customers and learn from the good and not-so-good. You’ve got that.
What is customer experience?
It’s not a complicated idea.
According to Forrester Research, customer experience is: “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.”
However, it can get a little twisty. It means whenever or however a customer notices or connects to your business, the experience they have is what’s measured.
It’s in the details of everything you do. That’s where it gets interesting.
Have you invested time to review your customer’s experience with you?
Customer experience is built from each time a customer (current or future) reaches out to your business. It’s part of the customer journey.
This includes all your social media, your emails, your newsletters, your personal presence and your brand. It’s noticed in your language, your tone, and your perspectives in everything you produce.
Acquire.io (Jan 2020)
74% of senior executives said customer experience impacted customers enthusiasm for being brand advocates, according to an Oracle survey.
60% of participants were willing to pay more for better customer experience in a study by American Express.
3 easy places to begin
Depending upon the size of your business, you may want to hire a consultant to work through the processes. If you do choose to do that, spend some time making sure you understand the research and the responses. There’s a lot of lingo and processes you may be unfamiliar with.
But if you’re going to figure this out on your own, you can start with the basics.
1. Understanding: do you really understand your customers
This can be a blind spot for many business owners. Sometimes we get so carried away with our ‘idea’ of whom the customer is we forget to check.
Start a conversation or use easy surveys to uncover what your customers actually believe and think about your business. For example, maybe you’d like to find out if you’re meeting their expectations. And how often does that happen – some of the time, all the time, or rarely?
That’s just one example of an easy way to begin your research.
There’s more information you have easy access to when you’re using social media.
Business News Daily reports “Seven out of 10 marketers ignore social data. With Facebook analytics and other free tools available, there’s no reason to overlook insights into how consumers interact with your brand.” (January 2019)
Are you actively collecting the best demographic information about your customers? It’s not just purchase history!
The best information for the self-improvement industry is often found in the psychological and lifestyle profiles of customers. You can’t just rely on income, zip or postal code, marital status, or gender.
If this is new to you, you can learn more here to get you going.
2, Consistency: becoming consistent with everything you do
That’s a tall order, right? You might be doing a lot of extraordinary things and if they’re all tied beautifully to one another, it will make sense to your customers.
However, it’s easy to get sidetracked and start adding or developing products (which can be great). If you start adding too many new things without a clear plan, it’s easy for you to get lost in the chaos.
You can appear disorganized, careless or even unreliable to your customers. This may not be your intention, but it can happen. Worse, you may not even know it’s happening.
For some businesspeople it’s way more fun to start a project than to finish it. Sometimes you need to put the brakes on.
Start by remembering your purpose. You’re creating a business that needs customers to trust you. They need to believe you’re reliable.
To beat this, start with a review of your mission and vision statements, and your tag lines. If they still match your goals and dreams, keep them. If they don’t feel right anymore, re-write them.
Those few words are your business’s north star. Stay true to what those values are, and you’ll find it easier to be consistent. Oh and…one more thing. Providing consistency goes back into the need to have a business plan for the short term and long term, so you stay true.
3, Own it: you’re responsible your customer’s experiences because it’s your business
If you hate the idea of trying to build a strategy or identify gaps in your customer’s experience there are creative (and colourful) tools you can use.
One thing you can do is use MAP. Originally MAP was created for developing goals and supports for people with disabilities. It focuses on the person and what they need.
However, it’s process can be adapted easily and applied to any goal setting you need to do. Briefly, MAP is a colourful and visual timeline. You start by working backwards from your ideal situation, you (and your team) identify steps and practical processes. In other words, start with the end in mind.
MAP leads you into being specific and using timelines which can become deadlines. MAP is an actionable plan, not just a daydream.
Personally, I do use other forms of mapping out ideas and processes. But this model I find the most engaging and practical for me. It’s really effective for creatives.
It’s a journey…
Being a savvy business owner is a journey of wonderful days and learning days.
It’s easy to say “Hey! Go talk to your customers!” but you might not always like what you hear. That’s OK. That’s the learning part. And, that takes courage. You’ve got courage, or you wouldn’t be here.
While we can connect all over the world in milliseconds sharing ideas and opinions without hearing a voice or seeing a face, it’s always critical to remember that we are all human.
It’s a person, just like you, who is looking for help from you.
The people who want to work with you or buy from you, are going to connect to you because you’re providing the best experience for THEM.
You’re in the world to help. You’re in business to help. You’ve got this.
Ms Charron is a certified copywriter with more than 35 years experience in a variety of industries. She’s a copywriter who is focused on remembering the human heart in advertising and enjoys working in self-improvement and personal growth.
If you’d like to connect here’s your warm invite www.copywritermarketer.com/cheryl-charron