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Michael View

Improving The Customer Experience (Part 2)

22 May 2014

Focus Services Delivery

Some companies try to be all things to all customers. Won‘t happen. Can‘t happen.

Different demographics have varying needs and expectations. A high-end jewellery store may serve tea and biscuits to customers, place flower arrangements on the display cases and maintain a staff of impeccably dressed salespeople. On the other hand, a business that focuses on the cost-conscious consumer eliminates the niceties and focuses on keeping prices low, Low, LOW!

Target everything from marketing and advertising to service delivery to your specific demographic and don‘t expect to meet the needs of every buyer or consumer of your products or services. Meet and exceed the expectations of your target market to build customer loyalty and long-term, relationship-based sales.

Make Customers Smile

On a recent business trip on an international airline the flight attendant offered me the use of the first class cabin since there were no first-class passengers. I had paid for Business Class and he didn‘t have to make the offer. He also didn‘t have to deliver first-class service, but he did. And that‘s smart business.

That airline will get more of my business in the coming years, and if they do accidentally re-route my luggage I won‘t like it, but I‘ll be understanding ‘" all because one flight attendant made me feel good.

Deliver more than is expected. Surprise customers with unannounced discounts, free services and a satisfying engagement and your customers will not only remain your customers, they‘ll recommend your business to others.

Stop Selling. Start Solving

Know when to stop selling. It‘s an old adage but one that‘s more true today than ever.

Once a prospect has been converted to a customer, stop selling and start solving problems ‘" problems customers may not even realise they have! A good example? Going to the bank is often a time-consuming chore so most banks offer secure, on-line banking services that equip you to check account balances, make payments and undertake other routine banking activities on your schedule and from anywhere.

This simplifies life for banking customers who can reconcile their accounts at their convenience. Banks have expanded services to include such things as remote deposit capture and remote payment options. Today in the US, you can deposit a cheque simply by taking a picture of it using your smartphone camera and uploading the image to your bank‘s web site. They are making bank transactions simple and saving time for customers.

What can you do to solve customer or client problems? How about a free e-mail newsletter on the latest in industry trends or a free coupon downloaded directly to customers‘ smart phones instead of advertising material? Create goodwill by making life easier for your clients or customers.

Make It Easy To Do Business

The more ways customers can touch your business the more revenue that business delivers. Even small, local businesses have web sites. Add a dot mobi site so customers can place an order, check an order‘s status, or reach the service desk using mobi technology.

Create as many payment gateways as possible. Cash-based businesses, like retailers and restaurants accept cash (of course), credit cards, on-line payment services like PayPal, cash transfers from bank to bank, debit cards and other means that simplify the buying and payment processes.

Amazingly many service providers ‘" lawyers, accountants, financial planners, insurance brokerages and other service-based businesses ‘" still don‘t have merchant facilities that enable clients to pay with a credit card.

Add a merchant account to your list of payment gateways. It helps customers and it helps your business‘ cash flow because payments are made electronically, eliminating the need for invoicing and billing by mail.

Fix Problems Fast

When a customer or client has a problem, you have a problem. So fix it. Fast.

A happy customer spreads the good word about your business. An unhappy customer damages your business brand by spreading negative WOM.

Even if it means you take a loss, you start to build an army of unpaid salespeople who are happy with the quality of service your company provides ‘" especially when it comes to fixing problems ‘" and this army of ‘reps‘ is selling your business to their friends, family, neighbours and co-workers.

The point is simple: enhance the customer experience by understanding your buyers, their needs and expectations. Surprise them. Make them smile. Focus on a target market and simplify everything from reaching a service person to making payment for services rendered.

The customer experience begins before you ever meet prospects and continues throughout your business activities ‘" year after year after year.

Enhance the experience. Enhance your bottom line. 

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