In the world of small to medium business, it is becoming harder to differentiate your company from the crowd.Customers are tired of hearing brands talk about themselves. They demand that businesses stop over promising and instead, start over delivering.
SMEs need to start focusing on Customer Experience (CX) for that competitive edge.
It makes sense. Happy customers are loyal customers. They can also be an extension of your sales force. These days customers have never been better equipped to share their experiences of your product or service.
Good customer experiences mean repeat business, referrals and positve reviews. Bad experiences result in lost customers, negative reviews and bad rankings.
With social media and the ease with which customers can share their experiences, both good and bad, isn't it time you start actively managing how customers feel about your business?
Here are four actions you can take to improve Customer Experience (CX) and give your business a competitive edge:
1. Hire great people
Creating a super CX culture starts with picking the right people. When you're hiring, look for people who will put your customers first. All too often, we put too much emphasis on professional experience and qualifications, without looking at how a candidate helped past customers or clients.
Including a simple interview question like 'What would your customers say about you?' or 'Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a client...' is one simple step you could take towards finding the right type of people to help create the type of CX culture you need.
2. Listen, learn & adapt
Your customers are the best people to tell you how to improve CX. They know things about your product or service that you don't. Encourage customer feedback.
Create a system whereby you use customer comments and suggestions to address shortfalls, guide the development of your business and contionuously improve the standard of service you offer. Online tools, like Client Heartbeat, Google Reviews or Trust Pilot, are all ways that you can measure, manage and share customer feedback in your business.
3. Lock in your best customers
All too often, we spend too much time trying to attract new customers, without paying enough attention to keeping our existing customers happy. It's a lot easier and cheaper to retain a good customer than it is to find a new one.
You can create pricing models that reward loyalty and long-term use. Start sending a quarterly satisfaction survey to your best customers. And most importantly, show them that you are listening to their feedback and improving your service as a result. Low cost tools like Survey Monkey and Hively can really transform the way you collect and manage feedback fro myour best customers.
4. Mobilise your customers and get them selling for you
If a customer has an experience with your brand that surprises and delights them, they will become a loyal ambassador. Someone who will sell on your behalf. When you've developed a CX culture that consistently exceeds your clients' expectations, you'll find it so much easier to get them spreading the word about your business.
You can't just sit back and let it happen though. Put processes in place. Incentivise and actively encourage customers to refer friends and enlist family members. Engage customers on social networks and communities where they can go out and share their experiences of your business. Use customer case studies and testimonials. Develop 'refer-a-friend' offers. There are lots of quick, easy-to-implement things that you can do today to get your customers selling for you.
These 4 tips should give you a solid CX foundation. But how do you take it up a notch and start delivering gold-standard CX?
Well, you can start by learning from the experts at Ireland’s first CX Masterclass...
This event is taking place in Dublin on September 7th. Designed specifically for Irish SMEs, the half-day programme will show you how to:
- Differentiate your business without additional cost
- Persuade current customers to amplify your promise amongst friends, family and colleagues
- Segment and design remarkable customer journeys
- Lock in your best customers
- Implement organisational change so staff members will welcome the new CX culture
The event aims to bring clear insight and practical tips that will help small to medium business owners and managers sharpen their CX and differentiate their business.
For full course details go to https://cxacademy.eventbrite.ie and enter the code: EARLYLF16 to get your Linked Finance discount.