Delivering the Best Customer Experience in Your Micro or Side Hustle
As a customer, how do you like to be treated? What’s your experience of the ‘customer experience’?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate polite and friendly interactions, a quick response to queries, and products or services that do exactly what they say they will.
We’ve all got our own stories of success and horror about dealing with different brands, but one thing is for certain: we’re much more likely to spend more money with, and keep on buying from, companies who offer a good customer experience.
With so many businesses to choose from, customer experience is a definite competitive advantage, particularly in an age when customers are increasingly smart and savvy.
Now more than ever before, we understand exactly what we’re looking for when we do business with a new company.
(For example, I bet you were able to answer the question at the beginning of this post straight away!)
So don’t waste all that hard work you’re doing on attracting new customers, by offering them a so-so experience and a lack of interest and nurturing after the sale. These two things are a surefire way for your business to lose credibility (you, personally, if you are the business) – and, of course, money.
Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
If you think customer service and customer experience are one and the same, you’re not alone.
But customer service is just one aspect of the whole customer experience.
It’s the difference between somebody being helpful and chatty on the phone (service) and your products or services arriving early, with a personalised note and a free upgrade (experience).
So now that you know the difference, how can you ensure the experience you’re offering your customers is the best it can possibly be?
First, I’ve got another question for you.
Are You Really Giving Your Customers the Experience They Want?
A recent study asked 362 companies to rate their quality of customer experience, whilst asking their customers to do the same.
Interestingly, over 80% of the companies thought they delivered a “superior experience”. But their customers had a very different point of view – as only 8% of them agreed!
We already know that customers have higher expectations than ever before. They are the ones in the driving seat, after all.
So it’s probably no surprise that a consumer study shows 82% of customers would stop doing business with a company that employs rude staff, and that the UK’s best companies are confirmed as the ones who “connect with people in a more humanised manner”.
For an example, think of First Direct, a bank with no physical branches. They don’t use automated menu systems when you call, instead, you get straight through to a friendly, properly trained human, whose attention is completely focused on you.
Customer Experience: Why It Pays to Personalise
Everybody likes to be recognised and treated as the person they are, rather than as just another paying customer.
So the first step to personalising your customer experience is to know and understand who your customers are (the customer profiling exercises in my previous blog posts will give you a head start here!)
What are their values – the things that are most important to them? What are their needs, and what specific problems is your business going to help them solve?
Then, look for different ways in which you could add personalised ‘extras’ – things that can be achieved even on a really small budget.
Could you send your customers an exclusive discount, or a small gift on their birthday? Perhaps you could arrange a follow-up call after a customer has bought something from you for the first time, just to see how they’re getting on.
If you can, offer your customers a choice of how to communicate with you – such as live chat, social media, email and telephone…and when they do get in touch, make sure you ditch the script!
Don’t forget to ask for feedback whenever you can, too.
Feedback will help you review your approach, correct any errors or misunderstandings, and ensure you don’t end up as one of those companies who only think they provide the best customer experience.
To help you on your way, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can help you manage all that customer data, when scraps of paper or an Excel spreadsheet just aren’t cutting it any more!
A CRM system can be a fantastic complement to your marketing funnel activity, helping you personalise your approach, and create the best possible customer experience for your micro or side hustle business.
I’ll be covering the importance of a CRM system in my next blog post – so don’t miss out! Sign up now, and you’ll be among the first to receive my latest news.