When it comes to growing your small business, it can be hard to know where to start. You’ve got social media, your company website and many other tactics in place to increase your customer base. But what about your customer experience?
Delivering the best possible service to your clients and ensuring they enjoy every step of the process can have the impact of a successful marketing campaign. So let’s have a look at your small business’s customer experience and what you can do to improve it.
Service over money
What makes you choose a supplier, shop or service provider: the quality of the products/services, price or customer service?
Here’s another one: Would you rather pay a bit more but receive an excellent customer experience, or save a few pounds and have to deal with a grumpy salesman in a dirty shop or a pricy return policy?
Often enough, people opt for high-quality customer service. For example, while budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet have certainly eaten into the market, British Airways and Lufthansa are still there. Mainly because people value being taken care of.
In short, while the quality, relevance and pricing of your product or service are still key to the success of your small business, your customer service and how your clients or customers experience your business is a close second.
Be the best
To improve your customer experience systematically, look at your small business from a customer’s perspective.
Scrutinise every point your small business interacts with your audience:
- Do they find things easily on your website?
- Are you speaking their language in your product brochure?
- Do you reply quickly to questions on social media?
- Does your booking system work smoothly?
- Can they easily find all the information they need before they buy?
- Is getting in touch with you easy?
- How fast and convenient is your delivery?
- Is the product packaging practical and easy to dispose of?
- How’s the communication – are emails friendly and helpful?
- Do they find everything they need on your invoice?
- How do you respond to questions and complaints?
Whether you’re selling a service or a product, have a shop or an office, are on your own or employ staff – make sure your small business delivers the best possible customer experience. Every time.
The final point in the above list can be daunting, but is so important – check out my full post on how to handle and respond to negative reviews.
Improve your customer experience
I have been in charge of many customer experience reviews and it’s amazing how even the smallest tweaks to how you deal with customers and clients can hugely impact your business.
Below, I’ve collected a few tips and tricks for your own customer experience review. Even though some of them seem to be fairly obvious, you might be surprised what you’ll find in your own company.
Keep in mind: Nothing is too small or insignificant when it comes to your paying customers and clients.
1. On the phone: Show high engagement
- Always answer the phone with your full name and company, and be friendly and helpful.
- Speak clearly and make sure background noise is minimal.
- Take your time and, if you’re too busy at the moment, agree on a callback and follow it up.
- Don’t just answer their questions; give them any information YOU think they need.
- Brief and equip your receptionists so they can answer frequently asked questions themselves and send out further information by email. Let them forward the contact to the responsible staff member for a follow-up.
2. By email or direct message: Be comprehensive
- Answer as quickly as possible, especially if an inquiry came in via social media.
- It’s okay to use templates especially when it comes to quotations, but be sure to customise them.
- If there’s additional information that’s useful, don’t hold back.
- Feel free to include relevant offers or discounts, but don’t oversell.
- Tell them their options if they have any further questions.
- Always thank them for getting in touch.
3. Marketing material: Be relevant
- Always tell people where to find you and how to get in touch. Give them options so they can choose their preferred way to communicate.
- Be precise and lead them directly to the information they want.
- Make it easy for them to buy from or contact you; lengthy forms or complicated booking systems are off-putting.
- Give real-life examples of how your product or services can benefit them.
- Don’t use jargon or abbreviations that they don’t understand; speak their language.
Seriously – you’d be amazed at the difference avoiding jargon can make – find out more here!
4. Your premises: Make a good first impression
- Keep your office, shop or workshop as clean and tidy as possible.
- Be visible with suitable signage, branded blinds or windows.
- Make access easy and direct people to the car park and closest entrance.
- Replace outdated or worn furniture and fittings and let your decor represent your brand.
- Always have someone ready to welcome visitors or customers with a smile.
5. Your staff: There to help
- Appropriate clothing and good personal hygiene are a top priority for customer-facing roles.
- Smile, be nice and make everyone feel welcome and cared for.
- Put down the smartphone and avoid eating at the workplace. As soon as a customer comes in, greet them and ask how you can help.
- Wherever they are, your staff represent your company. Ensure they share your values, know what you offer and why people should choose you over your competitors. If your staff believe in you they’ll be happy to recommend you when not working, too.
Read more about how your staff can play a key role in growing your small business.
6.1 Your product: Keep it simple
- Ensure your product packaging is sensible, represents your brand and is easy to open.
- Be sustainable, use as little packaging as possible and make it easily recyclable.
- Offer fast and reliable delivery with online tracking and text alerts that inform your customers of the exact delivery time.
- Add a short, straightforward and simple manual to help them get the best out of your product.
- Enclose a personalised letter giving any information they need about their order and what to do in case of a problem.
6.2 Your service: Communicate
- Make sure your client knows exactly what to expect, and when, throughout the whole process.
- Contact them regularly and be open about problems or delays.
- Be on time, reliable and explain everything you do and why.
- Don’t be afraid to talk money; tell your clients what cost to expect and why.
- Give your clients options and be flexible to deliver the best possible service.
7. Customer service: Be accommodating
- Mistakes happen, so be lenient when it comes to returns or re-deliveries.
- In case of complaints be understanding and helpful; apologise and do your best to make up for any problems, even if it’s not your fault.
- Send loyal customers a thank-you every now and then, especially if they refer your business to friends and family.
- Consider sending an email with a brief recap of anything discussed afterwards.
- Your invoices, booking confirmations and any other written communication with customers or clients should be consistently branded and communicate all your contact details.
WANT TO READ MORE?
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
Ideal Clients: How to Define & Attract them to Your Small Business
An Important Marketing Tool You’re Forgetting: Your Staff
How to Use Your Existing Customers to Grow Your Business
4 Clever Copywriting Tips for Small Businesses